EASCR activities are aimed at improving the safety at workplaces in the coatings removal and cleaning industry in a way that new product developments, based on safe alternative solvents, are introduced - so that the number of accidents and fatalities caused by the use of hazardous materials like dichloromethane can be significantly reduced, or completely avoided.
NEW - Risk Values of Paint Stripper Solvents
Highly flammable solvents may be cost-attractive, but not the best choice for safe stripper formulations. A comparison tool for the selection of solvents with low risk can be very helpful for formulators and users. EASCR developed a 3-Step-Model based on REACH data and legal Technical Regulations. “Risk Values" (RV) of solvents are calculated by combining their Vapor hazard Ratio (VHR) with Effect Factors (EF). On 2nd December 2015 EASCR presented this
model at the “Experts Discussion on Paint Strippers” organized by the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) in cooperation with the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IFA) and the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine (IPA).
DCM Strippers banned in the European Union
The process began on 6 December 2010, when manufacturers of DCM-based paint strippers were banned from placing their products into the market for the use outside installations and ended on 6 June 2012 when all use of DCM strippers had to cease.
This Member State that used to consume 30% of the DCM paint strippers produced in the EU made a major effort to stop the work with DCM paint strippers. University, industry experts, associations of the construction and decorating industry and insurance companies worked together in order to train professionals and make them fit for a future without DCM.
With the DCM ban the use of this type of paint stripper stopped in this member state. Activities of the DCM Lobby to motivate Decorator Associations to get derogations established failed.
When France and Germany as equally large historical users like UK stopped DCM stripping in their countries and in the USA the alarm bells were ringing, the UK re-introduced DCM paint stripping under derogation effective December 2014. One may question whether this is a logical conclusion from the highest number of known fatalities in an EU Member State, especially when also happening at installations (dip tanks) which have been excluded from the ban because being considered as safe.
Since June 2012 DCM paint strippers are produced and still freely marketed via wholesalers and the internet, ignoring the ban. Safety data sheet information implies exports as well. In September 2015 EASCR contacted the EU Commission and asked for clarification that is still pending. In October 2016 EASCR’s further follow-up resulted in the official confirmation that DCM paint strippers will be banned in Poland as well effective 1 January 2017.
Switzerland does not belong to the EU but aligned its regulation to ban DCM paint strippers effective December 2014.
USA - On its way to ban DCM Paint Strippers
Alarmed by the shocking high number of decorator fatalities the California Department of
Public Health (CDPH) launched a customer education program encouraging the use of non-DCM-paint strippers in 2013. 2.400 posters were mailed out to independently owned hardware and paint stores in California. (read more)
In Sept 2015 Jamie Smith Hopkins published an investigative Article on DCM and how it kills professionals and consumers, backed up by a compilation of 56 fatalities. It is sad to read how young some victims were and that also mothers died as well. The National Public Radio NPR broadcasted a Radio Story as well.
CPRW a world leader in construction safety and health research & training funded the production of a video to protect workers from methylene chloride (paint strippers). It was published in February 2016 and also recommends safer alternatives.
In May they launched a “Hazard Alert on DCM paint stripping”.
For the first time in more than 40 years, the primary chemical law in the USA is being updated. On June 22, 2016 President Obama signed into law the negotiated “Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform legislation” aimed at improving chemical safety and better regulating chemicals in commerce.
OSHA issued a final rule with new federal requirements to take effect August 10, 2016 and will create the largest publicly available data set on work injuries and illnesses to identify hazards and improve workplace safety.
On January 19, 2017 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride (dichloromethane) for paint and coating removal. EPA excludes furniture refinishing at this time but intends to propose such a regulation at a later date.