Cinnaminson, NJ, October 11th, 2016
Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane, is a volatile, colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states that the chemical compound is used in various industrial processes in many different industries that include paint stripping, pharmaceutical manufacturing and metal cleaning/degreasing.
Exposure can occur by drinking contaminated water, but OSHA states that the most common means of exposure to methylene chloride is through inhalation and skin contact. The agency considers it to be a potential occupational carcinogen and the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that it may cause cancer in humans.
Several years ago, after two workers died from inhaling high levels of methylene chloride, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a hazard alert about occupational exposures to methylene chloride. The document states that if workers smell methylene chloride, they are being overexposed because methylene chloride cannot be smelled until the levels in the air are higher than OSHA's permissible exposure limits (PELs). However, the human body can quickly become desensitized to the smell of methylene chloride, so workers may be overexposed even if they can no longer smell it.
“At high levels, methylene chloride can stop breathing,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At lower levels, methylene chloride exposure causes dizziness, fatigue, headaches and nausea. Exposure can also cause eye, nose and throat irritation. Prolonged skin contact may cause irritation and even chemical burns.”
EMSL offers methylene chloride testing services and all of the sampling supplies necessary to identify exposure risks and protect the health and safety of workers. They also recently sponsored an educational video about methylene chloride and occupational exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/SDGduHBfEQw
To learn more about methylene chloride testing or other air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com
, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.