Fatalities due to dichloromethane in paint strippers: a continuing problem

Am J Ind Med. 2013 Aug;56(8):907-10. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22167. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Background: Exposure to dichloromethane (DCM or methylene chloride - CH₂ Cl₂ ) 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.

Keywords: asphyxia; chlorinated solvent; confined space; dichloromethane; fatality; methylene chloride; paint stripper.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / poisoning*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • Methylene Chloride / poisoning*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Paint


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Methylene Chloride