Date posted: September 13, 2016
OSHA has recently announced new resources, including a video and fatal facts, that focus on the safer (non-toxic) alternatives to remove paint, coatings, and finishes.
Many liquid paint strippers and solvents contain methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is a cancer-causing chemical that can easily be found in products on the shelves of your local hardware or paint stores. Workers are at risk to serious illness or death when exposed to methylene chloride in enclosed spaces, mainly through inhalation and contact with their skin.
The video, Toxic Paint Removers: Safer Alternatives, produced by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program within the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, explains the events that led to a near-death incident involving a painter who was overcome by methylene chloride vapors; the hazards of using methylene chloride; and safer alternatives that are available to remove paint and other coatings/finishes. Painting and other contractors are encouraged to include this video as part of a comprehensive safety and health training program.
In addition, OSHA just released FatalFacts: Lethal Exposure to Methylene Chloride during Bathtub Refinishing, which was developed to specifically convey the seriousness of the risks when stripping coatings/finishes from bathtubs. OSHA and NIOSH also co-branded a Methylene Chloride Hazards for Bathtub Refinishers Hazard Alert in 2013.
For more information on how to protect workers from exposure to methylene chloride during paint/coating/finish removal, please see these additional resources: