Worker Deaths Increase from Methylene Chloride Paint Strippers

May 26, 2021

Dr. Dennis Shusterman and Dr. Robert Harrison co-authored a new JAMA study of methylene chloride solvent hazards. The study found there have been more fatalities than expected from the chemical methylene chloride, commonly used in paint strippers, from 1980 to 2018. The study is the first comprehensive review of fatalities linked to the chemical in the U.S., and revealed an increase in occupational fatalities related to both paint stripping and bathroom construction since 2000.

According to the authors, "Results of this case series demonstrated that despite regulations to address the toxic effects of methylene chloride use for consumers and workers, there are continuing fatalities in the US, particularly in occupational settings. Prevention of fatalities associated with methylene chloride exposure should emphasize the use of safer substitutes, rather than hazard warnings or reliance on personal protective equipment."

Click here to read the full-text paper, Assessment of Methylene Chloride-Related Fatalities in the United States, 1980 - 2018


About the Dr. Harrision:

Dr. Robert Harrison, Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Medicine, founded and has directed UCSF Occupational Health Services for more than 15 years, and now is a senior attending physician. He has diagnosed and treated over 10,000 patients with work- and environmental-induced diseases and injuries. He also directs the worker tracking investigation program for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Learn more about Dr. Harrison here:

About Dr. Shusterman:

Dr. Dennis Shusterman, Professor Emeritus, UCSF School of Medicine, is a staff physician in Occupational Health at UC Berkeley. He is the author of roughly 90 peer-reviewed publications and received the Clean Air Award for Research from Breathe California in 2013. Dr. Shusterman also Chairs the COEH Continuing Medical Education (CME) Committee, and was the Chief of HESIS at CDPH from 2007 - 2014.
Learn more about Dr. Shusterman here: