Businesses offered help with methylene chloride

Help is available for small businesses that need detailed guidance in meeting the new standard on methylene chloride recently introduced by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Methylene chloride is a widely used industrial solvent that can cause cancer or worsen heart problems for workers exposed to the vapors. The new OSHA standard on the solvent became effective in April and affects 92,000 employers with nearly 250,000 workers. Employers in the smallest businesses have up to three years to install engineering controls to comply with the new exposure limit of 25 ppm.

OSHA is offering 11 fact sheets geared to employers who need specific recommendations for work practices and engineering controls. Some of the fact sheets cover exposure monitoring and medical surveillance. Others deal with specific industry operations that may involve methylene chloride exposure, such as construction work, furniture refinishing, flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing, and vapor degreasing.

The methylene chloride fact sheets and other information can be found on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov under "publications." Single copies also can be obtained from OSHA Publications at (202) 219-4667.