(c) 2010-2024 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The EPA Final Rule on Methylene Chloride

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule in April 2024 significantly restricting the use of methylene chloride due to its health risks. This analysis examines the rule's impact on workers and potential workers' compensation claims.


  • Methylene chloride is a hazardous chemical linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, and liver damage.
  • The EPA identified unreasonable risks from exposure in various settings, including workplaces.
  • The final rule prohibits the manufacturing, processing, and distributing of methylene chloride for most consumer and industrial/commercial uses.

Impact on Workers:

  • Reduced Exposure: The ban reduces worker exposure to methylene chloride, minimizing the risk of work-related illnesses like cancer, neurological problems, and liver damage. This translates to fewer workers' compensation claims for such conditions.
  • Job displacement: Jobs reliant on methylene chloride may be eliminated, particularly in paint stripping and some foam applications. This could lead to unemployment and potential retraining needs.

Workers' Compensation Claims:

  • Fewer Claims: The number of claims related to methylene chloride exposure should significantly decrease with reduced exposure.
  • Shifting Claims: Claims might shift towards residual exposure cases for workers involved in the remaining permitted uses (e.g., lab research) or from improper handling during the phase-out period.
  • Increased Scrutiny: Due to stricter regulations and the potential for employer liability, workers' compensation insurers may scrutinize claims in the remaining allowed uses more intensely.

Overall, the EPA rule is expected to positively impact worker health by minimizing exposure to methylene chloride. However, job losses and potential challenges in workers' compensation claims for residual exposure cases are possible.

Additional Considerations:

  • The rule's effectiveness hinges on proper enforcement to prevent misuse of remaining methylene chloride.
  • Training programs for workers in permitted uses to ensure safe handling practices are crucial.
  • Monitoring worker health in permitted uses might be necessary to identify and address lingering risks.


The EPA's final rule on methylene chloride prioritizes worker safety by drastically limiting exposure. While there might be some job losses and adjustments to workers' compensation claims, the long-term benefits for worker health are substantial.

Recommended Citation: Gelman, Jon L., The EPA Final Rule on Methylene Chloride, (05/01/2024)



*Jon L. Gelman of Wayne, NJ, is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over five decades, the Law Offices of Jon Gelman  1.973.696.7900 
 has represented injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational illnesses and diseases.

Blog: Workers' Compensation

LinkedIn: JonGelman

LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters

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© 2024 Jon L Gelman. All rights reserved.

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