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Dichloromethane: Health Hazards

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 14th November 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential dangers associated with the use of the chemical Dichloromethane in the workplace.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The risks associated with the use of Dichloromethane (DCM) are well documented. Breathing in vapour can produce narcotic effects including drowsiness, headache, unconsciousness and death. DCM has also been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a category 2a carcinogen.

As the health effects can be fatal, the use of DCM as a paint-stripper is restricted under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH) and professional users must be trained and competent in its safe use. For all workplace uses of DCM, employers must also adhere to the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) to prevent or adequately control employee exposure.

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