Office for Career/Vocational Technical Education
CTE Health and Safety Advisory Number 1
Superintendents, Principals and Directors of Schools with Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing Programs
Jeffrey Wheeler, State Director of Career and Technical Education
May 12, 2004
The Career and Technical Education Unit has received important news about the use of Methylene Chloride, which is employed as a paint-stripping agent in automotive collision repair and refinishing work. Although currently in use by a minority of auto body shops, it is a potentially hazardous substance with well-researched and documented health consequences. For references to Methylene Chloride exposure guidelines and potential dangers from exposure to this substance, refer to:
Informational Booklet on Methylene Chloride
Safety and Health Topics: Methylene Chloride
Toxic Substances Portal: Methylene Chloride
The following is an additional link to a position paper on Methylene Chloride provided by the Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance, Inc. The paper mentions that prolonged exposure to this substance can cause nervous system depression and irritation to the skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract and recommends limiting worker exposure in order to avoid potential lawsuits.
Any school using products containing Methylene Chloride as a stripping agent is strongly encouraged to discontinue its usage and switch to a less toxic product, or if possible, eliminate the use of paint stripping agents altogether. Work-based learning including Cooperative Education programs should also ensure that students at private employer sites have limited exposure to this substance.
In addition, the Career and Technical Education Unit is concerned about the possibility of students being exposed to lead dust during the auto body paint removal and refinishing process. The Department is investigating this issue with the Division of Occupational Safety and will provide additional guidance on this matter in an advisory in the near future.