Range of Opinions


December 2014

Switzerland - The Federal Authorities
814.81 Ordinance on the Reduction of Risks relating to the Use of certain Particularly Dangerous Substances, Preparations and Articles of 18 May 2005 (Status as of 1 December 2014

Under Annex 2.3 "Solvents" Para 3 Dichloromethane the supply to the general public and the professional or commercial use of DCM paint strippers outside industrial installation is prohibited.




March 2012

UEMF Université Européenne des Metier et de la Finition - France

Les Nouveaux Decapants Sans Chlorure de Methylene - The New Paint Strippers without Dichloromethane / 28 March 2012

Introduction to and education on DCM-free paint stripping after the ban of DCM stripping in France.



February 2012

Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) / USA
Fatal Exposure to Methylene Chloride among Bathtub Refinishers – United States, 2000-2011

In 2010 an investigation into the death of a bathtub refinisher, using a DCM-based paint stripper triggered a larger survey that collected 13 fatalities in this small segment during the last 11 years.



August 2011

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) - Paper HSE/AA/53 – UK

DCM paint strippers / arrangement for a derogation

When many member states go for a ban without derogation - the HSE continues their strong lobbying and support for the chlorinated solvents industry and prepares for a derogation, because “DCM can be used safely” (quote).

Link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/hseboard/2011/170811/paugb1153.pdf

January 2009

Debate in the EU Parliament - Dangerous substances and preparations (dichloromethane) debate on 13 January 2009 in Strasbourg – Link:


Effective June 2012 decorators will hopefully have a better chance on safer working places in the EU when it gets to stripping off old paint. In the final debate all parties congratulated the Rapporteur Carl Schlyter on his job and obviously there is a broad agreement on DCM being a dangerous substance to work with.

When some are disappointed because it was not possible to agree on a total ban for professional use and hope, that only a small number of member states will continue to use DCM paint strippers, others still continue a debate between Christian Democrats and Liberals and the future development in the UK will show whether the HSE is going to secure the continuation of DCM paint stripping by arranging for derogations.

Videos of all speeches:




January  2009

The Greens / European Free Alliance in the European Parliament – Press release 14. January 2009: Link

Today the European Parliament confirmed an agreement with Council to ban the highly hazardous substance dichloromethane from use in paint strippers. It foresees a blanket EU-wide ban for consumer use, and also a ban for professional use that allows Member States to derogate under certain conditions. DCM has long been banned in some EU member States, but is still in use in others.



September 2008

Caroline Lucas MEP / Green MEP for the South East Region (UK) in the European Parliament :

Caroline Lucas has condemned the UK Government for lobbying in favor of the illegal use of dangerous substances in the European Parliament and reinforcing Britain’s reputation as the “dirty man of Europe”. Following the majority vote in the Environmental Committee of the EU Parliament for a complete ban on DCM in paint strippers for consumer and professional use she called on ministers to revisit their position, and to free the way for a European-wide ban.



February 2008

Graham Watson MEP / Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament : Link

After many years campaigning, Graham Watson MEP has welcomed recent European Commission proposal for a partial general public ban on paint strippers containing dichloromethane: “I welcome these plans to protect consumers across Europe from this dangerous chemical. It is toxic to the central nervous system and that has been linked to a number of accidents and fatalities. I have been campaigning for this for many years and the Commission’s proposals are a sensible move to safeguard people’s health.” Alternatives are available, as developed by local company Eco Solutions, so we do
not need to use dichloromethane’.



April 2007

Organizer of the largest Exhibition for the Decorators Industry in Germany “Farbe – Ausbau & Fassade 2007” evade discussion on “Paint Stripping”: Link
Professional decorators experience the highest number of incidents with dichloromethane (DCM) paint removers, yet the organizers of the 2007 event were not interested in hosting a presentation on this topic by our German EASCR member. At the same time the British consultancy RPA conducted a survey on DCM paint stripping on the request of the EU Commission and concluded that …companies (around 30.000 decorators alone in Germany) frequently do not have knowledge or means to adequately protect their employees …


March 2007

Press release of the German Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in the County North Rhine-Westphalia:

State-wide awareness campaign reveals severe safety deficiency in retail of paint strippers.

Nearly 400 Do-it-yourself stores were inspected. DCM paint strippers were found in 28 stores (8%) and in 17 stores the ban on the self-service sale of these products had been ignored. During the last 20 years incidents with seven fatalities and 15 injured persons have been recorded across Germany. English translation


February 2006

Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA) – Germany – Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (FIOSH):

After more than 2 years of discussion and work on TRGS 612 by an expert workgroup, including representatives from many different interest groups and EASCR, the latest revision of the Technical Regulation for Hazardous Substances – TRGS 612 has been prepared. The preparation work included extensive comparison testing of stripping performance on more stubborn coating surfaces, given as examples by DCM paint stripper producers as being only removable by dichloromethane. The results showed that this opinion was not sustainable and the Federal Institute summarises in the published TRGS 612 “Substitute substances, substitute processes and restrictions on the use of methylene chloride-based paint strippers” that suitable, effective, methylene chloride-free paint strippers can be obtained (and readily used from a technical viewpoint) for all coatings that are removable with methylene chloride-based strippers. A list of methylene chloride-free paint strippers can be downloaded at www.gisbau.de (visit also our section “important links”).
The results of the comparison study were presented by the Prevention & Insurance Association of the German Construction Industry during the Paint Stripper Forum of the EU Commission in Brussels in November 2005.


January 2006

Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA) – Germany – Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (FIOSH):

In the latest version of the Technical Regulation on Hazardous Substances – TRGS 900 - Work Place Exposure Limits, the old value of 100 ppm for dichloromethane (methylene chloride) has been deleted and no new value has been defined because the risks associated with this substance are considered as not acceptable. In addition, real-life examples have shown that the recommended protective measures are obviously insufficient. This position was already presented and supported by data by a BAuA toxicologist during the Paint Stripping Forum in Brussels, organized by the EU Commission in November 2005.

In April 2007 the value was reset at 75 ppm and is still valid in the actual version revised on 12 January 2012:  http://www.baua.de/de/Themen-von-A-Z/Gefahrstoffe/TRGS/TRGS-900_content.html


November 2005

GISBAU (Gefahrstoff-Informationssystem der Berufsgenossenschaften der Bauwirtschaft – Information System on Dangerous Chemicals of the German Industry Insurance of the Construction Industry):

Paint Stripping without Dichloromethane: DCM paint stripping goes in line with high risk for the human health. Fatalities still happen and the necessity to wear self-contained respirators is known but is ignored. The cost comparison shows that the personal protection for DCM is with approx. EUR 2.750,- about 31 times more expensive than for alternative paint strippers (approx. EUR 85,-).


July 2005

Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, University of Minnesota, US : Link

New regulations to safeguard against these hazards are requiring businesses to examine their paint stripping operations closely. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is further limiting exposure to MeCl. The new standard cuts exposure to MeCl from 500 parts-per-million to 25 parts-per-million in an 8-hour period. The new standard requires employers to monitor employee exposure and may require employees to use supplied-air respirators. OSHA believes this regulation will prevent 34 cancer deaths a year.



November 2004

Trade Unions Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark:

On 4-5 November 2004 forty representatives of trade unions from 10 European member states, the Nordic Federation of Building and Wood Workers (NFBWW), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) a member of the European Parliament as well as representatives of research institutions and governments agreed on the “Copenhagen/Vilvorde Declaration on Organic Solvents and Water based paints”, that includes also the request that “The use of particular hazardous chemical substances (e.g. dichloromethane) in paints, strippers and products for floor treatment shall be banned, for instance by including such substances to the Chemical Agent Directive annex III, or the directive relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (76/769/EEC, expected to be part of REACH) or as an extension of the Deco Paint Directive..
Download English
Download Danish
Download German


November 2004

Gefahrstoffe/Reinhaltung der Luft 64 (2004) Nr.11/12 (R. Rühl, D. Höber and S. Bredendiek-Kämper): Link

For more than 20 years, the danger of DCM containing paint strippers has been well-known in Germany. Currently the European Commission is preparing a directive on the restriction of these products. German measurements revealing high exposure during the use of DCM containing paint strippers were confirmed by data from other European countries and by measurements performed during simulated paint stripping work. For the simulation, paint strippers from different European countries were used.


November 2004

SchildersVakkrant (ARBOUW – Association of the Construction Industry in Holland): Link

Arbouw warning on dichloromethane: Working with DCM paint strippers may cause serious poisoning, with sometimes fatal effects. Fortunately alternative paint strippers are available, which are healthier, safer and of equal efficiency ,according to Arbouw.


May 2004

Guardian Unlimited (David Adam): Link

Many caustic strippers have been replaced by another chemical ‘methylene chloride’ that was billed as wonderfully safe when it was introduced but was found to have more insidious toxicity than people thought. The chemical mimics the poisoning action of carbon monoxide on the blood ,forming carboxy-haemoglobin, which interferes with oxygen transport. “The level of methylene chloride that was found to form carboxy-haemoglobine was actually lower than the limits for carbon monoxide. So suddenly people started reducing the maximum exposure level from 500 parts per million to 50 and then to 25.”


April 2004

Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) – European Commission: Link

Opinion on ETVAREAD Final Report “Effectiveness of vapor retardants in reducing risks to human health from paint strippers containing dichloromethane
SCHER found no evidence of a reducing effect of vapor retardants (page 4) and in all tests, the acute exposure concentration of 193 and 300 ppm in air were exceeded and this with an air exchange rate of 4, which is considered as higher than normal (page 4). A major concern for the toxicity of DCM is the especially susceptible populations. Children are more susceptible due to a potential for higher exposure, as they have a higher ventilation rate than adults and the concentration of DCM may be higher at floor levels (page 8).


December 2003

Chlorine Online: Solvent Digest 24 (Eurochlor – ECSA): Link

Following concerns in the TNO report on “Advantages and drawbacks of market restrictions on methylene chloride”,ECSA launched two research projects among 55 poison centers in Europe. In 2000 the focus was on methylene chloride and the number of incident reported is limited. When there are accidents they are benign. In the case of severe accidents, they are often due to hazardous substances accompanying methylene chloride. In 2002 the focus was on alternatives and the reported number of incidents was similar but the incidents were more severe. Adequate ventilation is the best protection against high exposure.


July 2003

Presseinformation der deutschen Verbraucherschutzschutzministerin Bärbel Höhn (German Minister for Consumer Protection):

State-wide audit of dichloromethane paint strippers proves severe safety deficiencies at retail level – Danger to the health caused by missing recommendations for personal protection. Approximately 50% of 144 controlled retailers do not respect existing regulations. Customers should be informed about risks and personal protection by trained personnel (equivalent to European Directive 76/769/EEC). English translation


June 2003


Magazine 6/2003 of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work – “Substituion is possible” (pages 23 – 26) from Lothar Lissner from Kooperationsstelle Hamburg, Germany on the European OSHA network in: Link


The rational behind the EU’s top priority risk reduction strategy.
Case 2: Methylene chloride.  Methylene chloride is a chemical widely used for stripping paint from different materials. The use of paint removers totals about 30 000 tonnes per annum in Europe. Methylene chloride is very effective, but can cause chronic and acute damage to health and sometimes even fatal accidents when applied in confined spaces. The EU has classified methylene chloride as a category 3 carcinogenic, ‘Substances that need attention due to their possible carcinogenic properties for humans’. The chemical has to be labelled as Harmful (Xn), with the risk phrase R40 (possible risk of irreversible effects). Many substitutes for methylene chloride — based on alkalines, esters or dibasic esters — have been developed. The main difference in working conditions is the need with methylene chloride to use personal breathing protection equipment, which also incurs additional physical strain for workers. 

June 2003

Reinhold Rühl in Farbe & Lack 6/2003: Link

Risk in Paint Stripping – Danger to the health caused by products containing DCM. DCM is a neurotoxin, suspected to be carcinogenic and evaporates rapidly. To date, no glove material available is able to provide protection against DCM for longer than 2 hours. Since 1993 the German TRGS has tried to introduce alternative paint stripping products, supported by the working group “Chlorinated Solvents” of the VCI, but the producers of DCM paint strippers play down the possible risks in their safety data sheets. A table lists incidents with DCM paint strippers and cleaners since 1975 and information is provided about break-through items in terms of glove materials, DCM concentrations at typical paint stripping work places and breathing protection.


April 2003

Chlorine Online: Solvent Digest 23 (Eurochlor – ECSA): Link

ECSA informs that Formulators have developed vapor retarded methylene chloride based paint stripper formulations.
As a result, amounts used and emissions of methylene chloride during paint stripping are greatly reduced – making it safer and even more effective.

What is presented as a new invention is a technology know and used since the “fourties”



November 2002

Chlorine Online: Solvent Digest 22 (Eurochlor – ECSA): Link

Data shows that methylene chloride can be used without health risks as long as safety measures are followed according to Chlorine Online. But no guidance is given on what the correct personal protection should be.



December 2000

VCI (Verband der Chemischen Industry – German Association of the Chemical Industry): Link

Safety information on the appropriate application of dichloromethane paint strippers. Despite preventative measures, the exposure limit (360 mg/m3 = 100 ppm) is regularly exceeded. Therefore self-contained respirators have to be used.



May 2000

HS Report Online:

No effective protection against some chemicals; Paint strippers based on methylene chloride belong to this category. The affiliates of the Heinrich Schmid Group have strictly banned the purchase of methylene chloride based paint strippers. English translation


May 2000

Miljø- og Energieministeriet, Denmark / Ministry for Environment and Energy: Link
Based on the concept that “It is a myth that methylene chloride is the quickest way to remove paint or lacquer” but the most dominant use of dichloromethane in Denmark still being in paint stripping this project Nr. 530 builds on the existing voluntary agreement between the paint industry and the Danish EPA. In order to speed up DCM substitution the project included different assessments which led to several conclusions including:
–For the majority different types of paint stripping is possible to use chemical products with sufficient efficiency.
–None of the investigated (alternative) methods for paint removal (including chemical substitutes) have the same severe impact for both health and environment as dichloromethane.
–The use of chemical substitutes instead of mechanical methods will improve environment and health conditions.
–A tax on approx. 30-35 DKK per kg dichloromethane will ensure a nearly 100% substitution.
English summary on page 12


October 1997

U.S. Department of Labor / Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Link
Occupational Exposure to Methylene Chloride 68:1494-1619
OSHA has determined that the current permissible exposure limits (PELs) allow employee exposure to a significant risk and is reducing the existing 8/hour time/weighted average (TWA) exposure from 500 ppm of air to 25 ppm. The final standard will prevent an estimated 31 cancer deaths per year and an estimated three deaths per year from acute central nervous system and carboxyhemoglobinemic effects.


January 1997

PPRC – Pacific NW Pollution Prevention Resource Center:   USA

Large Aircraft Robotic Paint Stripping (LARPS) The Air Force has traditionally used methylene chloride based chemical paint stripping compounds to remove organic coatings from aircraft. This chemical is hazardous and will be banned by the Air Force in 1997 and the EPA, or federal law, by the year 2000.


July 1993

HSE information sheet: Link   UK

The minimum protective equipment requirements for anyone working with DCM are impermeable overalls, apron, footware, long gloves and gauntlets and chemically resistant goggles or visors. In addition, respiratory protective equipment is required unless it can be demonstrated that exposure is below the maximum exposure limit of 100 ppm and does not exceed the current short-term guidance value of 250 ppm over any 10 minute period.