Safer Products

We are working toward Safer California households, workplaces and products

Effective January 1, 2019: Paint or Varnish Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride

DTSC has adopted regulations to list paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride as a Priority Product. Effective January 1, 2019, manufacturers of this product (see final regulations text for full description of the Priority Product) must notify the Department by March 4, 2019. To submit a Priority Product Notification, register on the Safer Consumer Products Information Management System, CalSAFER, and submit a notification.

DTSC is taking this action to protect workers and consumers from exposure to methylene chloride that could occur during normal use of paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride. Inhalation and dermal exposure to methylene chloride is associated with adverse health effects, including:

  • cancer of the brain
  • liver and biliary tract
  • central nervous system depression
  • intoxication
  • unconsciousness

Numerous deaths have been reported in workers and consumers who were exposed to methylene chloride during use of paint or varnish strippers.

Using paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride produces measurable concentrations of methylene chloride in the breathing zone and any person involved in or near the application may experience inhalation exposure to methylene chloride, even when protective measures are used.

The primary goal of DTSC’s Safer Consumer Products (SCP) program is to reduce human and environmental exposures to toxic chemicals in consumer products. We use a science-based process to evaluate the use of hazardous chemicals in consumer products and consider routes of exposure to these chemicals throughout the full life-cycle of the product. By listing paint or varnish strippers containing methylene chloride as a Priority Product, DTSC is requiring manufacturers to answer two questions: 1) Is this chemical necessary? 2) Is there a safer alternative?

Resources on Alternatives to Methylene Chloride

SCP would like Responsible Entities (REs) to consider the following information while preparing Final AA reports. DTSC does not endorse the results or conclusions of these reports nor are the alternatives presented in these studies vetted by SCP as “safer alternatives”. These reports are not substantially equivalent to an SCP Alternatives Analysis and do not fulfill all the requirements of Article 5.

1. Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) report: Assessment of Safer and Effective Alternatives to Methylene Chloride for Paint Stripping Products

2. Pilot Study to support Alternatives Analysis: Evaluating Alternatives to Methylene Chloride in Paint Stripper from UCSB

3. BizNGO report: Alternatives to Methylene Chloride in Paint and Varnish Strippers

4. Army Research Lab Report: Performance Assessment of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP)–Free Chemical Paint Strippers on Military Coatings for Validation to Federal Specification TT-R-2918A

SCP Priority Products