Results of the Massachusetts methylene chloride end-users survey.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2003 Feb; 18(2):132-137
A survey of Massachusetts companies reporting use of methylene chloride between 1995 and 1999 was conducted to assess the status of industrial use of the chemical in 2000. Methylene chloride has had wide use in industry although it has been identified as potentially hazardous to exposed workers and the environment. New and tightened occupational and environmental regulations taking effect in the 1990s were hypothesized to have reduced use of the chemical in Massachusetts. Substitute technologies, especially aqueous cleaning, were expected to have replaced methylene chloride in many industries. Seventeen of the 21 Massachusetts manufacturing companies reporting use of over 10,000 lb/y of methylene chloride between 1995 and 1999 were surveyed by telephone regarding their experiences of methylene chloride use and elimination and/or replacement. Fifteen of the 17 companies had either eliminated (10) or reduced to below 10,000 lbs/yr (5) their use of methylene chloride at the time of the survey in 2000. Many of the surveyed companies moved to aqueous cleaning from methylene chloride degreasing operations. Environmental concerns were the most popular reason given for eliminating or reducing use of methylene chloride. Worker health and safety concerns, especially concern about compliance with the 1997 Occupational Safety and Health Administration methylene chloride standard, were also a motivation. In general, the companies associated many benefits and few problems with eliminating or reducing use of methylene chloride. Exposure reduction strategies based on toxics use reduction techniques appear to be feasible for many manufacturing companies. However, research should be conducted to assess the introduction of new hazards as a result of tightened regulations on methylene chloride.
Methyl-compounds; Engineering-controls; Chemical-analysis; Chemical-properties; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Workers; Exposure-levels; Worker-health; Toxins
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
University of Lowell Research Foundation, Lowell, Massachusetts