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Keywords:

  • dichloromethane;
  • methylene chloride;
  • paint stripper;
  • fatality;
  • chlorinated solvent;
  • asphyxia;
  • confined space

Abstract

Background

Exposure to dichloromethane (DCM or methylene chloride - CH2Cl2) in paint strippers continues to be an avoidable source of morbidity and mortality. DCM has been under regulatory scrutiny by occupational and consumer product agencies since the identification of its carcinogenicity in the mid-1980s.

Methods

We investigated two independent workplace incidents that resulted in three cases of DCM intoxication from paint stripper use.

Results

Each incident investigated resulted in a fatality. A third worker suffered obtundation requiring hospitalization and intubation.

Conclusions

The continued occurrence of fatalities and other serious injuries due to DCM-containing paint strippers in the United States calls for a re-evaluation of existing regulatory strategies. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:907–910, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.