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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Inadequate controls while using Dichloromethane (DCM) during wheel stripping

Date: Monday 18 July 2022

Exposure to high concentrations of DCM vapour has caused impaired consciousness and death. It is also suspected of causing cancer and can burn the skin and eyes.

Recent inspections have found stripping of surface coatings from alloy wheels with DCM being carried out without key control measures in place, resulting in the process being prohibited until they are provided.

Follow these control measures to reduce exposure to DCM vapour:

  • Provide a tank with effective local exhaust ventilation, e.g. back slot extraction
  • Use a pump or siphon to transfer the stripping mixture when filling or emptying the tank
  • Use lifting equipment to lower and lift workpieces from the tank to prevent the need to lean over the tank
  • Use lids to cover stripping tanks and only remove them to load or retrieve the workpieces being stripped
  • Use constant flow airline breathing apparatus when:
    • manually lowering or lifting workpieces
    • manually transferring wet workpieces to another area for scraping and rinsing
    • performing cleaning and maintenance tasks, like sludge removal and replacing stripping fluid, and while dealing with spills.

There is advice for managers (.PDF) and a direct advice sheet (.PDF) for stripping surface coatings from alloy wheels.

For further information visit the HSE website.