Paint and varnish removers, paint and varnish strippers, and surface cleaners that contain methylene chloride have been proposed as an Initial Priority Product. Methylene chloride is a well-known and widely used solvent in paint strippers. Marketing of methylene chloride-based paint strippers has been banned in the European Union. Methylene chloride is acutely toxic to the nervous system.
Methylene chloride is metabolized to carbon monoxide in the body and can cause severe cases of carbon monoxide intoxication. Between 2000 and 2011 there were at least 14 worker deaths reported in the U.S. related to bathtub refinishing with stripping agents containing methylene chloride. Do-it-yourselfers are also at risk when using these products in confined spaces.