TV and Radio paint stripping broadcasts

Concerns about the risks associated with paint stripping with DCM has already intrigued several journalists, causing them to take up this subject and try to raise the awareness for the need for safer paint stripping products.



Dichlormethan in Abbeizern am 15.11.2007 Jörg Heimbrecht für Servicezeit :

Dichloromethane in Paint Strippers on 15 November 2007– Several people suffocated because they worked without fully-protective suits when working with these paint strippers. Therefor it is prohibited to sell these dangerous paint strippers to do-it-yourself workers. Now the German Federal Ministry for Work intends to place also a ban on these perilous paint strippers and hope for an EU-wide ban because this would automatically cover all imports.  English translation


Die Alternative – kreative Querdenker in Bayern am 20.4.2004  Thomas Hillebrandt für WDR ‘Q21-Wissen für morgen:

The alternative – creative ‘lateral thinking’ from Bavaria on 20 April 2004 – As far back as in 1984, the Scheidel company launched its DCM-free paint remover and was honoured with an significant environmental award. The company founder, Hermann Scheidel, developed the first products as a non-chemist and, significantly, the products were marketed first in Switzerland and Sweden before they were able to be sold in Germany. As in the days of Hermann Scheidel, a small- to medium-sized enterprise such as Scheidel (with 19 employees) has to make extra efforts to survive in a market dominated by international major players. And whereas dichloromethane is considered as a ‘universal’ paint remover, alternative products are required to provide an exact match to a given substrate. According to Georg Scheidel (son of the founder) the export rate is 30%, serving Scandinavia, Austria and Benelux. In Germany the market is still dominated by DCM paint removers. In order to fit the right alternative paint stripper to a given surface, Hermann and Georg have developed a test box, provided to decorators at cost, to enable them to determine the best fitting candidate. English translation


DCM-haltige Abbeizer – gefährlich bis tödlich am 20.4.2004  Thomas Hillebrandt für WDR ‘Q21-Wissen für morgen :

DCM-containing paint removers – from hazardous to lethal on 20 April 2004 – Whenever the German Industry Insurance for the Construction Industry presents a ‘fatality list’ of accidents involving DCM paint strippers, European DCM producers and many retailers continue to ignore these hazards. The German Technical Rule for hazardous Substances (TRGS) No 612, which restricts the use of dichloromethane paint strippers, has been in place for 10 years, but approx. 80% of all paint stripping work is still done with DCM containing products. As a consequence, serious and fatal accidents continue to occur, regardless of the fact that the Labour Safety authorities and the Chemical Industry Associations keep pointing out that DCM paint removers will regularly exceed the official exposure limits (also when working outside) and that special respirator equipment is required.  An overview of 8 German incidents with DCM paint strippers (11 people involved), and tables with accidents involving dichloromethane paint removers and cleaning products over the last 30 years are presented (more than 80 people injured, incl. 36 fatalities).   The Regional Commissioner‘s Office is conducting a comparison between a DCM containing stripper and an alternative paint stripper during a project at a school. Tests confirm that the alternative stripper stays within limits, whilst the DCM concentration is six times higher than the permissible limits. It is described how easily the paint peels off in layers after treatment with the alternative product, although some paints are older than 70 years. The author concludes that DCM paint strippers ought to be taken from the market. English translation


Nachgefragt: Abbeizer in NRW vom 2.5.2003   Jörg Heimbrecht und Gönke Harms for WDR „ServiceZeit Bauen und Wohnen“  : 

Follow-up: Paint Strippers in Nordrhein Westfalia, Germany on 2 May 2003 – Three months after their first report, the TV team found the same illegal behaviour in selling DCM-paint strippers at a new group of retailers. On the other hand, those stores which had been identified in the January report have since improved and work according to guidelines. More than 30 people have already died when working with this kind of paint stripper. The Minister for Environmental Affairs in Nordrhein-Westfalia, Germany, is interviewed. She reports that they have initiated audits since being made aware of the infringements by the ARD report in January. The reporter questions the effectiveness of this action because they have seen no change in behaviour, and only the retailers from the initial report have promised to improve. English translation


Nachgefragt: Abbeizer vom 5.4.2003 Jörg Heimbrecht for ARD ‘Ratgeber Bauen & Wohnen : Link/English translation

Follow-up: Paint Strippers on 5 April 2003 - This TV report reminds viewers of the duty of retailers to inform customers of the inherent danger of the products they sell. In the meantime, authorities had been able to check and confirm the illegal practice the TV team had previously filmed in their January report. A State Secretary of the Ministry for Environmental Affairs confirmed failures in their control system, and stated that they had initiated fines for those stores selling DCM paint strippers without correct precautions. He also reported that they found a growing number of dangerous paint strippers being replaced on the shelves. In fact, the Verbund Farbe und Gestaltung (VFG – a holding of 60 retailers with EUR 600 MM turnover) has taken dichloromethane paint strippers completely out of its product range. According to its product manager, a switch to alternative products is the better choice because the cost for waste-handling or personal protection is incredibly high for dichloromethane based products. When the personal protection alone costs EUR 1,300, then it is of no economic relevance that an alternative paint stripper may cost some cents more per kg.


Gefaehrliche Abbeizer vom 25.1.2003 Jörg Heimbrecht and Melanie Jost for ARD ‘Ratgeber Bauen und Wohnen’ :Link/English translation

Dangerous Paint Strippers on 25 January 2003 - This TV report from the German ARD, one of Germany’s leading channels, informs viewers of the danger when working with dichloromethane paint strippers. A German decorator is interviewed, who was lucky to survive a severe accident. He was wearing the wrong gas mask and had to spend nine days in hospital. A representative from the German Industry Insurance for the Construction Industry explains existing regulation in Germany, and states that only a fully protective suit, in combination with self-contained respirators, provides sufficient protection against DCM paint strippers. This applies to both professional decorators and private DIY users. In Germany, DCM paint strippers can only be sold to consumers after they have had their dangers explained to them and upon the purchase of the correct personal protection equipment. The TV team visited several retailers and DIY stores with a hidden camera, highlighting ‘illegal’ sales, which don’t  follow the above precautions, in all cases except one. 


DCM/MeOH paint strippers in British DIY stores .......BBC Watchdog report in 1996.

Summary: British Do-it-yourself (DIY) stores should know that toxic ingredients in varnish- & paint removers and brush cleaners - often well known products - can damage the health of their customers. Nitromors® Paint Remover, Nitromors ® Varnish Remover, Polystrippa ® All Purpose Paint Remover and Polycell ® Brush Restorer contain dichloromethane that carries the possible risk of irreversible health effects. This means that it may cause cancer if used over a long period of time. The EC officially classifies dichloromethane as a cancer causing agent. Also methanol is to be found in these products, and can also cause irreversible effects, such as destroying the optic nerve. People regularly using these chemicals e.g. painters and decorators are more at risk, but the French are of the opinion that these chemicals are so dangerous to the average DIYer that they should be locked in cabinets, In fact the retail staff has to inform customers on how to use them safely before they can buy them. In the UK, on the other hand, virtually incomprehensible labels are used, which require a PHD in chemistry in order to understand them.   




Dichlormethan im Abbeizer – Hochgiftig und überall erhältlich am 24.1.2003     Ralph Ahrens für den Deutschlandfunk  :Link   

Dichloromethane in paint strippers – very poisoning and available everywhere on 24 January 2003 – DCM paint strippers repeatedly cause accidents and often end in fatalities. According to German regulations, DCM paint strippers are not allowed to be sold as a self-service article, but everyone can easily buy them at retail shops. According to a representative of the German Industry Insurance for the Construction Industry it is mainly the UK preventing restrictions on the use of these paint strippers in the EU. One of the strongest supporters of the continuation of unrestricted sales of DCM paint strippers is Henkel. Whereas Henkel Germany discontinued the production of DCM paint strippers more than 10 years ago, its British daughter continues to sell them through its Nitromors® brand, which constitutes a major market share. A representative from Henkel states that they don‘t think that this is good for their company image and dichloromethane (methylene chloride) is not a product they like to sell but they cannot ignore economic forces. It is expected that the ‘White Book’ will help in classifying dangerous products more stringently, and enable alternative products to enter the market. This would please Industry Insurances because, with fewer incidents, their spending would decline significantly. English translation