Striving Towards a Dichloromethane-Free Future

The obvious risks of roofing are sadly all too well-known: working at height poses some of the biggest risks in the construction industry. Falls, hot working and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are some of the leading causes of work-related ill health across the sector. But what’s lesser known is the effects of dichloromethane: responsible for an estimated 13000 deaths each year.

What is Dichloromethane?

Dichloromethane, or DCM as it’s often abbreviated, is a colourless, highly volatile solvent that’s used in a wide range of industrial applications. Due to the fast-setting properties of the chemical compound, it’s commonly used in adhesives, aerosols, paintstrippers and degreasers.

Dichloromethane: The Risks for Roofers

Despite the prevalence of dichloromethane in heavy industry, users should be aware that without the proper protection, the chemical can pose significant health risks to users. But using the proper PPE and ensuring working environments are well-ventilated: the dangerous effects of exposure to the chemical can be eliminated. That said, it’s important to know the risks in order to protect yourself:

Skin Exposure: When in contact with skin, dichloromethane causes redness and irritation, and in cases of continued exposure can result in serious skin burns. It’s important to ensure the appropriate PPE is used: suitable overalls, visors and gloves that provide adequate protection all help to prevent skin exposure to the chemical. 

Eye Exposure: If contact is made with the eyes, dichloromethane can cause significant irritation. If left untreated, this can progress towards eventual sight loss, so it’s critical to wear eye protection at all times when handling DCM.

Inhalation: The short-term symptoms of dichloromethane exposure include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, with higher levels of the DCM leading to headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. But the long-term impacts are even more troubling, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warning the chemical compound is a likely cause of human cancers. If you experience any of these symptoms when working with solvents, adhesives or aersolds, it’s critical to take action and ensure you’re using the right PPE and RPE to protect yourself from harm.

How QDEK is Eliminating Dichloromethane

The health and wellbeing of roofers is a top priority for QDEK. Whilst we can’t eliminate dichloromethane from all of our adhesives at this moment, we’re taking the right steps to achieving this long-term goal. The challenge we face is developing formulations that replicate the ultra-strength bonding and rapid flash-off times that DCM provides for contact adhesives. But it’s possible: by investing all of our efforts into research and development into a cleaner future for adhesives, we’re making industry-leading progress in formulating DCM-free adhesives that promise the same phenomenal performance. 

Until we reach our goal of a completely DCM-free product range, here are some of the products we currently have on offer:

QDEK 2301 NC PVC Membrane Contact Adhesive: This non-chlorinated adhesive delivers high grab, 100% plasticiser resistance and a rapid flash-off time of 2-3 minutes. Don’t risk your health when you can get tested and trusted solutions with QDEK.

QDEK 2352 NC Fleece-Backed Field Area Adhesive: Non-chlorinated and compatible with all fleeceback membranes, this 100% waterproof adhesive has a seriously low VOC content of less than 160g per litre. 

QDEK 2400 Self Adhesive Membrane Primer: One of the fastest, most versatile primers in roofing. Dry in 1-2 minutes and non-MECL: it’s the safe and speedy alternative to slow-drying, roll-on primers that no longer meet the mark.

A Cleaner, Safer Future for Roofing Adhesives

Our innovative range of DCM-free products that aren’t just cleaner – they do the job better. We value contractors and that’s why develop high-performing bonding solutions to transform the way you work. If you’re a contractor interested in safer roofing adhesives, get in touch or browse our full product range.

Get in touch with Leigh

Roofing adhesive expert Leigh Mckenzie is on hand to answer questions and queries about QDEK. Get in touch with Leigh directly:

Telephone: 07848 452125


Linkedin: Leigh McKenzie