HSE ignoring cancer risks of methylene chloride

While US authorities were warning of the potential cancer risk from exposures to methylene chloride (dichloromethane), the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had nothing to say for itself. Pointing out at the US Environmental Protection Agency had declared methylene chloride a “probable human carcinogen”, Hazards magazine said HSE had “said nothing.” It added: “But we know the UK government ‘Expert Committee on Carcinogenicity’ where there are no trade union representatives have recently declared methylene chloride to be a human carcinogen.” Hazards said the new exposure limit of 100 parts per million introduced in January 1886 “must now be reduced” because of the emerging evidence of a cancer risk. In 1999 IARC said there was sufficient evidence to conclude the solvent was carcinogenic in animals and said it was “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” In 2014, the UK was the only European Union government to request a derogation for certain processes from the EU wide ban on methylene chloride’s use a paint stripper.

Toxic paint stripper: Methylene chloride, Hazards, number 10, September 1986.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *