The Health & Safety Executive has issued a chemical hazard alert for bromochloromethane (BCM), a solvent used in spotting or removing grease from fabrics during their manufacture.

The HSE has not been able to identify a maximum safe exposure limit for the solvent and says that as it is uncertain about BCM’s carcogenic properties it cannot state what would be a safe level of exposure. Tests on animals have shown that BCM irritates the skin and eyes, affects the nervous system and causes liver and kidney damage. BCM is readily absorbed into the body if the vapour is inhaled. It is also important to avoid skin contact with BCM. More detailed guidance from the HSE is expected to be published shortly. For more information contact the HSE’s InfoLine Tel: 0541 545500.