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Press release
 

Dichloromethane to be banned in paint-strippers

Environment - 14-01-2009 - 12:56
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The dangerous chemical compound Dichloromethane (DCM) in paint-strippers will soon be banned for consumers and many professionals, after the adoption of a legislative report by the European Parliament. Thanks to MEPs, a derogation for licensed professionals will be limited and the protection of workers during the industrial use of paint-strippers containing the chemical will be strengthened. The resolution was adopted with 674 votes in favour, 17 against and 8 abstentions.

Dichloromethane (DCM) is a colourless chemical compound, classified as a carcinogen category 3. According to the Commission, between 1989 and 2007, 18 fatalities (9 for industrial use, 8 for professional use, 1 for consumer use) and 56 non-fatal injuries have been registered in the EU.
 
The Decision adopted by the European Parliament, will:
  • ban the use by consumers, who are least aware of the dangers of dichloromethane and who have least access to protective equipment;
  • ban in general the use by professionals operating outside industrial premises, but Member States can opt to allow further use for certain activities by specifically trained professionals under certain strict conditions (conditions have been strengthened on Parliaments request);
  • increase protection of workers during industrial use of such paint strippers (thanks to the EP the obligatory protection requirements have been strengthened);
  • avoid further divergent actions by Member States which create obstacles to the internal market without benefit for the protection of all European citizens.
 
When will the ban apply?
 
The decision will enter into force three days after its publication. It states that paint-strippers containing dichloromethane in a concentration equal to or greater than 0.1% by mass shall not be placed on the market for the first time after 18 months after the entry into force for supply to the general public or to professionals. Furthermore they shall not be supplied to them after 30 months after the entry into force and shall not be used by professionals 36 month after entry into force.
 
Background
 
Various alternatives to DCM-based paint strippers are already available on the market: physical/mechanical stripping, pyrolitic/thermal stripping, and chemical stripping involving other chemicals than DCM. Alternative chemical paint strippers are the most widely used.
 
A number of European countries have already put in place national measures to ban or substitute DCM (Austria, Denmark, Sweden) or are in the process of doing so (Germany).
 
REF.: 20090113IPR46095