A recent report published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has highlighted a significant risk of death associated with exposure to methylene chloride among workers re-surfacing or re-finishing bathtubs.
Exposure to this chemical, which is widely used as a degreaser and paint stripper, has previously been identified as a potential fatal hazard for factory workers and people working as furniture strippers. It has not been previously linked to deaths in people re-finishing bathtubs.
Speaking today about the dangers of methylene chloride exposure Liam Moloney product Liability Solicitor in Naas Co. Kildare said “workers must also use the appropriate protective equipment when using products containing methylene chloride safely. In addition work areas must be well ventilated. Research has shown that in a small bathroom it is unlikely that these products can be used safely’’.
The CDC investigation followed a report of 13 deaths which had occurred across ten states in the USA since 2000 as a result of exposure to methylene chloride in workers whose profession was re-finishing bathtubs. All the deaths occurred in residential bathrooms with inadequate ventilation. The workers either used none or had inadequate protective equipment.
Recommended maximum levels of exposure to methylene chloride should not exceed blood levels of 2mg-l. Autopsy results from six of the bathroom workers showed that they had blood levels of the chemical ranging from 18mg-l to 223mg-l.
Mr Moloney added ‘’ the extreme hazards of using products with this chemical in bathtub re-finishing work needs to be clearly communicated to employers, workers and the general public alike. Products should be labelled and state that they are unsuitable for bathtub re-finishing and manufacturers should consider restricting access to these products, ‘’