Employees working in California and throughout the United States should be aware that the EPA has declared methylene chloride to be harmful to human health. Methylene chloride is used in a variety of products including paint, adhesives, cleaners, degreasers, lubricants, sealants, and even “craft” glue. This chemical is commonly used in the paint, manufacturing and automotive industries.
While the chemical poses little threat to the environment, methylene chloride can be harmful to humans if it’s inhaled or absorbed through the skin. OSHA sets strict guidelines for the amount of methylene chloride that employees can be exposed to. To ensure their health and safety, employees can only be exposed to a small amount of methylene chloride during an eight-hour shift. Employers must provide respirators and other health and safety equipment to their employees. If they don’t, employees may be entitled to worker’s compensation.
To ensure further safety, the EPA has proposed banning methylene chloride use to anyone who hasn’t undergone a strict training regimen. Anyone who undergoes the training will be permitted to use products that contain methylene chloride. For the EPA, the next step will be opening the floor to public discussion. They will develop and finalize regulations, which might involve prohibiting the use and production of methylene chloride altogether.
An employee who feels like they’ve been exposed to methylene chloride or has been the victim of other OSHA/EPA violations might wish to speak with a worker’s compensation attorney. The employee may be eligible for worker’s compensation, which compensates them for injuries or illnesses they might have suffered on the job. An attorney might be able to help their client document evidence and file a claim through the appropriate channels so they get the compensation that they may be entitled to. An attorney could also make sure that the client gets the appropriate medical care.