Fatalities due to dichloromethane in paint strippers: A continuing problem

Authors


  • Conflict of interests: These incidents were investigated by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program (FACE), which is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and by the California Department of Public Health.
  • Work was performed at: The California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Building P, 3rd Floor, Richmond, CA, 94804; Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, The University of California, San Francisco, 1001 Potrero Ave, Bldg 30, Suite 3500, San Francisco, CA 94110; and at Irvine Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, 101 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868.

California Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Branch, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Building P, 3rd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804-6403. E-mail: dshuster@cdph.ca.gov

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.

Ancillary