Thursday, June 10, 2021

NEW Methylene Chloride–Related Fatalities Discovered

A new assessment of Methylene Chloride (a solvent widely used in paint strippers, cleaners, adhesives and sealants) related fatalities in the United States between 1980-2018 was recently published online with Jama Internal Medicine. Researchers and physicians from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and UC San Francisco have found that deaths of workers using Methylene Chloride paint strippers are much higher than originally reported. 


Assessment Findings

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has acknowledged 53 fatalities connected to the chemical from 1980 to 2018. The new study identified 85 deaths over the same period, most of them occurring in occupational settings. The EPA banned consumer use of such products in 2019, but it still allows workers to use them. The study’s authors are urging the EPA to ban commercial uses. 


The Facts

Although US regulatory policies have mandated product labeling and worker protections, fatalities continue to occur, with a greater proportion of recent deaths related to the use of paint-stripping products. What's also troubling is that from 1985 to 2017, the American Association of Poison Control Centers documented 37,201 nonfatal Methylene Chloride cases. Real prevention of Methylene Chloride related injuries and fatalities starts with the use of safer substitutes. Based on the facts it is clear hazard warnings and reliance on personal                                                            protective equipment have not been effective.


What Happened

OSHA does not have the authority to prohibit the use of substances or chemicals; the EPA has these authorities under the Toxic Substances Control Act. In 2017, the EPA found that Methylene Chloride paint strippers posed unreasonable risks and proposed (but never finalized) a rule to prohibit these products in consumer and most commercial/industrial uses. In 2019, the EPA issued a final rule prohibiting consumer sale of Methylene Chloride paint strippers by the end of 2019, but the rule did not address commercial/industrial uses.


What Can You Do?

Support businesses providing safer alternatives to chemical paint stripping. Shop at retail stores that provide safer consumer and contractor removal products. Support companies developing safer removal technology and purchase their products. Source furniture refinishing services/companies working to reduce workplace hazards and environmental impact.  The battle for safer work environments and consumer products is not over and we can all do our part! 


Thank You for Reading

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Top 10 Awesome DIY Paint Projects You Can do This Weekend

Nothing makes a weekend more enjoyable than adding a great DIY project to make your favorite room pop! Introducing a splash of color or a new design feature can really change the whole feel of a home. If you are in need of some inspiration or are just looking for touch of dimension, take a look at these top 10 DIY paint projects.

01 Say Hello to Stencils

If you're ready to make a style statement with your accent wall, consider using a wall stencil to add a bit of depth into your accent wall. A wall stencil DIY project gives you complete control of choosing your favorite design and paint colors with an end result everyone will love! There are many simple DIY paint projects that creates big changes with a little bit of paint. To pull your room's design together, repeat your accent wall pattern with a matching area rug or pillow fabrics.


02 In With the Old, Out With the New

Even the most beautiful old furniture can benefit from a color makeover. If you have a piece of furniture that you love but are seriously wondering if it still fits your style, try this DIY paint update project. The key to a stunning paint makeover is adding a pop of unexpected color. For a hutch or buffet, painted shelves in a bold color are highlighted by a more serious color on the outside. A bookcase can be updated by painting the inside back or interior shelves with a pop of color. For a longer lasting paint job, safely strip existing coating first to ensure you are receiving the best results. You can count on EZ Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper to get the removal job done quickly and efficiently! 


03 Just a Splash

Painting over your plain white ceiling is a subtle way to add color to any room. Dining and living rooms are the perfect spots for ceiling color, especially with a trayed ceiling or decorative molding that separates the new paint color from the walls. Though painting your ceiling can be a DIY painting project, make sure you have the right tools and patience to complete your project!


04 Let's Add Some Fun

Dry Erase Paint will give you unlimited color options for a DIY writing and drawing surface in your home. Any kitchen, home office, or studio would be the perfect spot for a colorful dry-erase surface to help you stay organized or be more creative. Turn a piece of furniture, a section of your wall or door, into a colorful dry-erase board with just a few coats of paint. 


05 Chalk It Out 

Imagine the possibilities for your home when you try a chalkboard paint DIY project. Chalkboard paint can be used on walls, inside cabinet doors, and even on furniture. With the advances in chalkboard paint, you can now get it in most paint colors too!


06 Bright and Bold 

Updating your front door with a bright paint color is the top curb appeal booster for your home. Front door color inspiration can come from your garden, your home's architectural style, or your interior d├ęcor. Once you've chosen your color, you'll want to make sure you have the tools and the instructions for this DIY project before you begin. For a longer-lasting paint job, safely strip existing coatings first! My favorite safer stripper is EZ Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper!


07 Unexpected Dimension 

Your furniture doesn't have to be an heirloom or designer piece to be stylish. Laminate furniture can be transformed with paint. You can paint your laminate furniture in one great color, try a color-block design, or even a pattern. 


08 Trendy Accents 

Everyone knows that accent walls are one of the easiest ways to transform any room with color. Adding an accent wall is a simple way to add an accent color to a tired color palette, or add a focal point to a room without any architectural features. Any color can be used for your accent wall DIY paint project, but be sure to plan out your color palette first so that you can tie everything together. 


09 It's Time for a Makeover! 

Most two-story homes have a small bathroom downstairs that was designed for convenience. Though this bathroom may not be used exclusively by guests, there is no reason not to express your dramatic side by creating a stunning powder room.

The fun of decorating this tiny bathroom is that it is the one room in your home that doesn't have to "look bigger." You can choose whatever paint color you like as long as you have the right lighting. Powder rooms are where you can express your style without a thought to the rest of the house. Choose a favorite color, replace a boring mirror with a pretty framed one, and add decorative accents for a simple bathroom makeover.


10 Mix and Match 

Throw pillows are the quickest and easiest way to add a pop of color or pattern to any room. More than an afterthought, throw pillows are the finishing touch when you decorate a room. If you want to totally customize your space, try the throw pillow stencil designs from paintapillow.com. With their unique system, choice of modern and romantic designs, and fabric paint color selection, you can create a completely customized style at home.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post and want some more of the good stuff be sure to subscribe to our EZ Strip Blog today.



Thursday, April 1, 2021

Indoor Toxins: How To Reduce Exposure In Your Home

Recognize and avoid the most common toxins 

found in homes today.

Indoor air can have higher concentrations of toxins than outdoor air. Ironically, these chemical toxins come from the products we use to make our lives better.


Realistically, most consumers are unable or do not have the time or expertise to monitor products and materials for hazardous material content. But there a few simple strategies which can be taken to reduce exposure to toxins in the home.
  • Know the most common toxins that are found in homes today
  • Find safe substitutes, mitigate the hazard or do without the product
  • Ventilate your home regularly, especially during the winter months


The Most Common Toxins Found in Homes Today


1. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)


VOCs are a group of chemicals that vaporize easily and bring gas pollutants into the home from a variety of sources. There are over 400 compounds in the VOC family that have been identified in the home and of these over 200 can be found in carpeting. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.

Risks

Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment; chronic exposure increases the risk of cancer, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage. Persons with respiratory problems such as asthma, young children, the elderly, and persons with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to irritation and illness from VOCs.

Sources

New carpets and home furnishings, interior paints, paint removal products, particleboard, plywood and pressed wood products, new plastics and electronics, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, shampoos and cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellents, air fresheners, and during the burning of wood stoves and tobacco products.

How To Minimize Exposure:

Avoid Products with High VOC Content: Look for “Low-VOC” and “Zero-VOC” paints and finishes for indoor painting. The same goes for paint and finish removal products. Buy solid wood, hardboard or ‘exterior grade’ plywood in place of pressed wood products. Establish a “no smoking” policy in your home. Consider buying antique furniture.

Ventilate: By increasing ventilation, you can lower the concentration of VOCs in your home. If new carpeting or vinyl flooring has been installed, or a room freshly painted, open windows and doors, and use a house fan to direct the room air outwards.

Allow New Products to Off-Gas Before Bringing Them Into the Home: If you just bought a new stuffed couch, for example, unwrap it and leave it in the garage for a couple of days before bringing indoors. Seal particle board or pressed wood items with varnish or paint before bringing them indoors.

2. Pesticides

According to the EPA, 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Alarmingly, pesticide residues have been detected in 50 percent to 95 percent of U.S. foods.

Risks

Irritation of eye, nose and throat, damage to CNS and kidney, increased risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, blocking the absorption of food nutrients.

Sources

Food (some fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats), household pest control products and sprays, and some chemical lawn treatments which drift or are tracked indoors.

How To Minimize Exposure:

Establish A ‘No-Shoes’ Policy in Your Home: The simplest way to keep outdoor pesticides, especially lawn chemicals, from entering your home is to have family members and visitors leave their shoes at the door. This will also reduce the need for home cleaning. 

Avoid Using Chemical-Based Pest Control Products in the Home: There are safe alternatives for pest control available today which can effectively control most insect pests without the need for harmful chemicals. Pest control products with chemical formulations should be used only where the more benign product fails to remedy the insect problem.

Buy Fresh, Organic Produce: For the freshest organic vegetables, grow your own produce in a simple backyard garden. Or choose foods that are known to have fewer pesticides applied during the growing season.


3. Mold and Other Fungal Toxins

One in three people has had an allergic reaction to mold. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause a range of health problems with exposure to only a small amount.

Risks

There is no consensus among scientists about the health hazards of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins may have toxic effects ranging from irritation of mucous membrane to suppression of the immune system and cancer.

Sources

Contaminated buildings, damp areas with frequent temperature changes, airborne particles from furnace blower or air conditioning unit.

How To Minimize Exposure:

  • Keep filters clean on heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems
  • Remove any water sources to mold affected area; dry thoroughly
  • Keep relative humidity below 60%, which may require a dehumidifier in some areas
  • Store items with high cellulose content (newspapers, drywall, cardboard) in dry areas

4. Phthalates and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVCs contain phthalates, a class of widely used industrial compounds known technically as dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters of 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid. There are many phthalates with many uses, and just as many toxicological properties. These chemicals are used primarily to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.

Risks

Endocrine system damage (phthalates chemically mimic hormones and are particularly dangerous to children). Researchers have associated pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates with adverse effects on the genital development of their children. These risks may even prevail in low-dose exposure.

Sources

Plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers, which can leach phthalates into our food. PVC in some consumer products such as vinyl flooring, drapes and wall-coverings, baby’s toys, shower curtains, blow-up air mattresses, cosmetics and fixatives.

How to Minimize Exposure:

  • Check the label of baby products to ensure they are phthalate-free.
  • When buying plastic products for the home, ask if they contain PVC or phthalates.
  • Avoid eating food stored or microwaved in PVC plastic.
  • Look for recycling code #3 or V to spot PVC products before they enter your home.
  • Look for PVC-free draperies, window blinds and shades; choose natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wood, bamboo, silk or hemp.

5. Heavy Metals


Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.

Risks

Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels.

Sources

Drinking water, some seafood, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants, lead paints.

How To Minimize Exposure:

  • Install water filters.
  • Use cold water for drinking, making tea or coffee, and cooking.
  • Avoid fish high in mercury, such as king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, shark, orange roughy, and marlin. Limit consumption of tuna, especially steaks and canned ‘white’ albacore.
  • If your home was built before 1978, check for lead paint.
  • Avoid buying products made with PFC, such as Teflon cookware and Scotchgard.
  • Avoid using treated wood (CCA or ACZA) on decks or children’s play structures.


General Strategies to Reduce Toxin Levels in the Home


While it is difficult to identify a specific toxin in the home and take appropriate measures to contain exposure to it, here are some general strategies to reduce the overall level of toxins in the home:

Only Use Natural Cleaning Products in Your Home

Most health food stores will have these available or you can make your own cleaning products using safe ingredients.

Avoid Using:

Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.

Establish a ‘No Shoe’ Policy in Your Home

To drastically reduce the number of pesticides and other chemicals that you may pick up outside, have visitors and family members leave shoes at the door. Residuals of toxic chemicals may last for years in carpets.

Avoid Using Lawn Care Chemicals

Residue is easily tracked indoors where chemicals can persist in carpeting and furnishings. Use natural lawn care methods which eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

Avoid Using Chemical Pest Control Products

There are safe, non-toxic alternatives for controlling insect pests in the home, including many new non-toxic pest control products for the homeowner.

Use Low-VOC Paints, Removers, Caulks, Sealants, Finishes, and Carpeting

Look for low-VOC labelling on sealing and finishing products. Most major paint brands now carry ‘low’ and ‘zero’ VOC lines for interior painting. For low-VOC paint and coating, removers click here

Use Toxin-Reducing Houseplants

Researchers from NASA have identified certain houseplants which are useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside homes.

Change or Clean Your Furnace or A/C Filters

At least once every 1-3 months depending on use.

Ventilate

Modern homes and businesses are created to be leakproof; meaning, toxins are sealed in and fresh air is sealed out! To ventilate indoor air in winter, open doors and windows on opposing sides of the room to facilitate airflow, and close them in 5 – 10 minutes. The furnishings, drywall and any stonework will retain residual heat and restore room temperatures quickly.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A DIY-er’s Guide on Refinishing Solid Wood Furniture



Refinishing old wooden furniture can be a creative and rewarding DIY project that provides you with high-quality pieces for your home. Whether you’re restoring a family heirloom or you’ve found a diamond in the rough, the following tips for refinishing wood furniture will help you in your next project. 

If you’re wondering what signs you should look for when deciding to refinish your furniture or if you should restore it at all, there are some initial considerations to look at. The first step should be to look at the unique piece and determine whether it’s worth undertaking a restoration project or not. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

 

Is the piece painted?

If a piece is painted, there’s usually a reason for it. Owners paint over pieces when they are trying to cover up dents, stains and other imperfections. You might be getting more than you bargained for with a painted wood piece. In some cases, you may be better off choosing a piece that only has varnish on it.

 

Was the piece built solidly?

Pieces from before the 1960s are generally built from solid wood. Any pieces after that aren’t usually made from solid wood and are instead made from laminates and particleboard. These materials are usually not worth refinishing. On the flip side, older wooden pieces from before 1850 can be quite valuable. If you aren’t sure of a piece’s value, consult an antique expert before starting a refinishing project.

 

Is it stable or will it need to be re-glued?

Test out the sturdiness of the piece. If it sways from side to side or if it’s uneven or coming apart anywhere, then it will need to be taken apart and re-glued (and held together with a clamp until the glue dries) to ensure it’s stable. Ask yourself if this is a step you’re willing to take. If so, can you do this yourself or will you have to hire an expert to do it? If you’re specifically wondering how to refinish wood dressers, pay attention to the drawers and whether they are holding together properly.

Based on your answers to these questions, you should be able to determine how much of your own sweat equity you’re willing to invest in a furniture restoration project. 

 

Wood Furniture Refinishing Supplies Checklist


Before getting started on your wooden furniture restoration or refinishing project, it’s important to get all of your supplies in order so you can complete your project more efficiently. Below is a helpful supplies checklist to follow when beginning your next wood furniture refinishing project:

  • Dish soap, sponges and towels
  • Paint stripper
  • Power sander
  • Sandpaper in multiple grits
  • Paint scrapers (plastic or metal)
  • Epoxy putty
  • Wood sealant/Varnish/Polyurethane
  • Wood stain or paint (be sure to pick the correct colour)
  • Drop cloths
  • Wax coating product
  • Eye protection
  • Latex gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner

Other supplies that may come in handy include:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plenty of clean rags and cloths
  • A bucket for clean water
  • Stir sticks
  • Glue and clamps for repairing and reinforcing furniture if needed


Best Tips for Refinishing Furniture

If you’ve decided that you are going to move forward with refinishing your wood furniture, then there are a few guidelines to follow.

 Below are six essential steps that address how to refinish wood furniture and how to strip finished wood:

 

Step 1: Clean the Piece

The most fundamental step of any furniture refinishing or renewing project is to give the piece in question a good and thorough clean. This is especially true if the piece has been in storage or has been kept outside for an extended time. Additionally, if you don’t know exactly where the piece came from, it’s likely covered in a layer of grime from dust and dirt buildup.

Many people think that using a heavy-duty cleaner will work more effectively on an especially dirty piece. However, the simplest and most effective way to clean the piece and protect it is to simply use a mixture of dish soap and warm water. Most trusted professionals suggest using Dawn or a similar brand of dish detergent to get the job done.

Scrub down the surface using gentle strokes with a soaped-up sponge. Once you’ve scrubbed the surface clean, rinse it off with fresh water using the wrung-out sponge. After the soap has been cleared away, pat the piece dry with a towel.

 

Step 2: Assess the Furniture’s Current State


Once you’ve cleaned the piece, you’ll have a better idea of the overall scale of the project. If you’re dealing with an especially old piece, you may find there are white rings, paint stains, dents, chips and cracks.

Take an overall assessment of the piece and determine what will need to be done to make these repairs. This will help you determine which supplies you’ll need such as scrapers, epoxy putty and wax filling compound.

 

Step 3: Remove Old Finish

If you’ve never done so, then you may be wondering how to strip the finish off of wood. There are two main ways to do this. The first way is to sand it off and the second way is to use a chemical stripper:

 

Sanding:

Caution if your furniture has a thin veneer sanding the finish is not a good option as you can sand right through it and cause difficulty to repair the damage. Also, keep in mind the dust that will be created will cause a lot of extra clean-up. Use coarse sandpaper, a sanding block or a power sander to strip the finish off until the surface is smooth. Once most of the finish is off, switch to medium grit sandpaper to further remove any shine. Finally, finish off with a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out the wood until all finish is completely removed. 


Chemical Stripper:

Caution carefully research the product you want to use to make sure you are not exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. There are safer chemical stripping options available. Our recommended source for safer chemical stripping options is EZ Strip. https://www.ezstrip.ca/ Chemical stripping products are designed to effortlessly strip the finish off wood. Spread the stripper over the surface of the wood evenly using a paintbrush. Let the stripper sit for the amount of time recommended by the stripping product, when it's ready you can scrape it off. Continue to use a scraper or paint stripping pad for detailed areas until you’ve scraped all the finish off. Be sure to wipe down the wood (EZ Strip only requires water while other products may require lacquer thinner) and remove any leftover residue, finish, or wax from the stripper.

 

Stripping Old Varnish and Paint Mess from Wood with EZ Strip

If you’ve never stripped the finish off of wood before, here are some tips you can follow to make the job safer and easier:

  • Wear protective gear including eye goggles, and gloves.
  • Read the chemical stripper product label before beginning and follow as directed (especially the amount of time to let the stripper sit on the surface of the wood).
  • Use drop cloths or plastic underneath the furniture before sanding or using the chemical stripper.
  • Apply chemical stripper using fast and even brushstrokes as the product will begin to evaporate.
  • Use a brush to get into grooves.
  • Reapply another coat of stripper over the top of the finish that doesn’t remove after 30 minutes of soaking.
  • Let the piece air dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.
  • Dispose of the leftover chemical products safely by first checking with your local waste disposal company. (EZ Strip product can be disposed of safely in your household garbage)

 

Step 4: Apply a Coat of Sealant


After you’ve stripped the finish and let the piece fully dry, it’s time to move on to coating. If you’ve used a chemical stripping product, you may need to sand the furniture surface using 120 grit paper to ensure you’ve completely removed any residue.

An optional step is to fill in the grain of your wood furniture to your liking. If your furniture has a tight wood grain, then it won’t need grain filler. However, if your furniture has a more open grain such as with oak or mahogany woods, then you can apply a grain filler. You’ll need to choose the correct grain filling product depending on whether you want to emphasize or de-emphasize the grain and what the desired colour will be in the end. Also, check whether the grain filling product should be applied before or after staining.

Finally, you’ll want to seal the wood to prepare it for staining. A sealant product protects the wood and creates a base for the stain to spread more evenly. Apply a thick coat of sealant and allow it to soak into the wood. Wipe off any excess using a clean rag. Once the sealant has dried, sand down the furniture surfaces again with fine grit sandpaper.

 

Step 5: Stain or Paint the Wood

The next step after applying the sealant is to stain or paint your wood furniture piece. This is a personal decision, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. When choosing between staining or painting your wood furniture piece consider the following:

  • If the piece is antique, you may not want to paint over it so it can retain its authenticity.
  • If you don’t like the existing colour or grain of the wood, then you may prefer it to be painted a different colour.
  • If the piece will be used in a high-traffic area, it may be more resistant to damage with a stain and sealant than with paint.
  • If the piece isn’t constructed from high-quality materials, then you may choose to paint it to make it look better.
  • There are several options to choose from when it comes to stains. There are water-based, oil-based or gel stains. There are also products that are a two-in-one stain and finish. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label before beginning the staining step. There are many colours to choose from so be sure to test the stain colour on another piece of wood before applying it to your furniture.
  • Paints also have multiple options to choose from. There are different paint finishes such as oil-based enamel or latex that will provide a durable coating. Follow the instructions on the product label before applying the coat of paint.

 

Step 6: Apply a Coat of Finish

The last step after staining or painting your wooden furniture piece is to apply a finish coat. There are different finish products to choose from. Your choice will depend on several factors including:

  • The wood furniture look you desire
  • The durability you need
  • The type of wood your furniture is made from
  • How the item will be used and how frequently
  • Your own skill level

Because certain finishes are meant to be sprayed on, they require additional spray tools to get the job done. For beginners and hobbyists, it’s recommended to use finishes you can wipe or brush on.

Once you’ve selected the best finish product for your specific furniture piece, you can add a coat of paste wax to enhance its lustre and further protect it from scratches.

 

Last-Minute Tips on Refinishing Wooden Furniture

Now that you have a better understanding of the process of deciding when to refinish wood furniture and how to do it, here are some helpful tips to consider along the way:

 

Use Full or Natural Light:

When staining or painting your wood furniture piece, be sure that you’re working in a fully lit space. This will help you to see any drips, runs or missed spots before it’s too late.

 

Keep Your Workspace Clean:

Throughout the whole furniture refinishing process, remember to keep your workspace as clean as possible. This includes vacuuming up dust after sanding. Dust particles can get trapped on the wood’s surface and get underneath the stains and topcoats. Once you’ve vacuumed the dust, wipe down the wood with a damp cloth before applying the finish.

 

Stir Products:

Never shake a container of stain or finish. Instead, gently stir the mixture to ensure all ingredients are properly dispersed and not settled at the bottom.

 

Test the Stain Colour:

Don’t rely on what the samples tell you when deciding how the stain will look. Always test the stain first on a discrete area of your furniture before applying it all over. This will prevent any unwanted surprises when you begin to cover the more prominent areas.

 

Preserving Your Wood Furniture

Once you’ve completed your wood furniture refinishing or restoration project, it’s important to maintain and protect your piece as much as possible. This includes regularly dusting and cleaning your piece and preventing damage.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to subscribe to our blog! If you want to learn more about furniture refinishing or get some great removal project ideas visit our website EZstrip.ca or check us out on YouTube The EZ Strip Channel


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EPA Abandons Protections from Dangerous Chemicals



The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally announced the withdrawal of rules proposed in 2017 banning methylene chloride’s (MC) commercial paint stripping uses and n-Methylpyrrolidone’s (NMP) paint stripping uses.  EPA cites pending risk management processes for the chemicals under TSCA Section 6(a) to justify the withdrawal.

Every single day, workers and communities are exposed to and harmed by these dangerous chemicals.  Dozens of families have lost loved ones to the use of methylene chloride paint strippers on the job. EPA’s refusal to act in the wake of thousands of citizen comments, a mountain of scientific evidence, and hours of testimony in support of these protections is public health malpractice. 

Even if you don't live in the United States here are a few things you should know about these hazardous chemicals:

Methylene Chloride

Also known as dichloromethane or DCM, is a solvent used in a range of products. Methylene chloride has been linked to cancer, cognitive impairment, and asphyxiation. Many methylene chloride-based paint and coating removers are used in areas with limited ventilation such as bathrooms, allowing fumes to build up. Methylene chloride vapor is heavier than air, so it concentrates low to the ground, right around the level where people stripping surfaces are breathing. According to EPA, respiratory protection may not be enough to protect people from being exposed where levels of methylene chloride are high.

N-Methylpyrrolidone

Also known as NMP or 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, is a solvent used in a range of products. The average consumer is most likely to encounter it in paint strippers, even though safer alternatives exist. NMP has been closely linked to developmental impacts including miscarriages. EPA describes NMP as a developmental toxicant. 

Safe Alternatives

Truly safe stripping alternatives are available. One of the safest stripping chemical substitutes in removal products today proving to be very effective in performance is dibasic esters (DBE). Some of their key  characteristics are non-flammable, low VOC, readily biodegradable, non-corrosive, and have a mild fruity odor. One company that is utilizing these innovative chemicals with world patented technology is EZ Strip®. Stripping formulas by EZ Strip® are gentle on the skin with no harsh fumes. EZ Strip®’s advanced water-based technology surpasses competitors with professional performance and low environmental impact. For more information on how you can buy EZ Strip® strippers and removers visit EZstrip.ca



Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Safer Option For Paint Stripping This Season

 



Even with retailers banning hazardous paint strippers from their stores like Methylene Chloride and     N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP) in Canada, there are still a lot of chemicals out there in paint removal products that can cause harm to your health and the environment. Looking for safer options to strip paint and varnish for furniture refinishing and home improvements can seem a little daunting but there are safer options available.

SAFE ALTERNATIVE STRIPPING CHEMICALS

Dimethyl Esters (also known as Dibasic Esters, DBE, and DMEs*) are readily biodegradable, low odor, low VOC solvents. They have proven to be excellent solvent substitutes in many cleaning and stripping applications. Commercial acceptance and use of dimethyl esters and dibasic esters continue to increase due to their positive economic, environmental and performance characteristics. DBEs can be used to replace more conventional and increasingly regulated removal materials and industrial solvents. One company that has utilized these solvents in combination with innovative technology is EZ Strip®For more info on safer paint removal options that contain DBEs like EZ Strip® visit EZstrip.ca


With a preferable environmental, health and safety profile DBEs are considered a “greener” or environmentally friendly and safer product due to several safety and regulatory attributes, including:


Environmental 

Readily Biodegradable
Not included CERCLA/SARA hazardous substances list
Not considered a hazardous waste under RCRA 
Not included on the CWA list of hazardous substances
Used in EPA Safer Choice formulations

Health

Low VOC
Not considered a carcinogen or reproductive toxin
Low levels of toxicity
Low odor
Main components not subject to Proposition 65
Not skin absorbent

Safety

Non-Flammable
Non Corrosive
Non-Hazardous DOT
High Flash Point
High Boiling Point
Slowly Evaporation Rate

Different paint strippers contain different chemicals, and the potential hazards vary for each product. It's important to remember every product has specific safety precautions. Here are some general safety steps to keep in mind when using any paint stripper. 

If you use paint strippers frequently, it is particularly important that you follow these steps:


1. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions on the label. Do not assume you already know how to use the product. The hazards may be different from one product to another, and the ingredients in individual products often change over time. The label tells you what actions you should take to reduce hazards and the first aid measures to use.

2. Wear chemical-resistant gloves appropriate to the type of stripper being used. Examples include gloves made with butyl rubber or neoprene. See the manufacturer's instructions or safety data sheet (SDS) on your product to determine the appropriate glove type. Also, ask your local store what type of gloves to choose for your product. Common kitchen latex gloves do not provide enough protection for most paint strippers. Replace gloves often to decrease dermal exposure risk.

3. Avoid getting the paint stripper on your skin or in your eyes. Wear protective clothing and goggles appropriate for the project and type of stripper.

4. Only use paint strippers outdoors, never indoors unless the stripper states it is safe to do so. If you must use them indoors, cross-ventilate by opening all doors and windows. Never use any paint stripper in a poorly ventilated area. Make sure there is fresh air movement throughout the room. Ventilate the area before, during, and after applying it and when stripping. 

5. Do not use flammable paint strippers near any source of sparks, flame, or high heat. Do not work near gas stoves, kerosene heaters, gas or electric water heaters, gas or electric clothes dryers, gas or electric furnaces, gas or electric space heaters, sanders, buffers, or other electric hand tools. Open flames, cigarettes, matches, lighters, pilot lights, or electric sparks can cause the chemicals in paint strippers to suddenly catch fire.

7. Only strip paint with chemicals that are marketed as paint strippers. Never use gasoline, lighter fluid, or kerosene to strip paint.

8. Dispose of paint strippers according to the instructions on the label. If you have any questions, ask your local environmental sanitation department about proper disposal. 

When it comes to paint stripping, knowledge is power. Always know exactly what you're working with from the removal product to the material you are stripping. Using some basic safety precautions that start at the time of purchasing the stripper and finish with the proper disposal of removed materials will ensure your safety and low environmental impact.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Cold Is Coming: 5 DIY Home Improvement Get Ready Ideas

 

Investing in a new fall improvement project can be a great way to enhance the function of your home just in time for the flurries! Picking the right project is key to ensure the best preparation for winter. Here are 5 ways to get you ready for the cold and certainty that your home is fully prepared: 

Replacement Windows

When looking for a great way to prepare your home for this upcoming winter, one of the best remodeling projects you could start with is replacing your old windows with new ones! Old drafty windows are one of the leading causes of energy loss in a home. This can result in having to pay a great deal of money on energy bills in order to keep your home at a comfortable level for you and your family. When it really comes down to it, older windows weren't designed with the same level of energy efficiency in mind like they are today. If you’ve had older windows for some time, it’s likely they have developed cracks, warps, or just aren't sealed how they should be. TIP: Refinish window frames when replacing windows. Cracked paint build-up can reduce your window seal and make sealant cocking less effective. Refinishing projects can call for some harsh removal chemicals, but that’s not the case when using EZ Strip® products - the safer alternative. Visit EZstrip.ca for removal product recommendations.

New Doors

Much like windows, the doors of your home are also quite important when it comes to insulation in maintaining a comfortable living environment during the winter. If your doors are a bit on the older side, you may have noticed that damage has started to show, or feel a general draftiness around them. This fall is the perfect time to consider replacing them with an updated and more conducive door set to maintain a comfortable house setting. TIP: Refinishing your original door instead of a new set, will save you money! Visit EZstrip.ca for removal product recommendations.

Kitchen Improvements

Considering all the cooking that goes on during the holiday season, now is the time to make improvements to your kitchen! There are many ways you can go about updating the heart of the home. You can do minor things like replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets, or go big and refinish your wood surfaces. TIP: Refinishing projects can call for some harsh removal chemicals, but that’s not the case when using EZ Strip® products - the safer alternative. Visit EZstrip.ca for removal product recommendations.

Paint Your Home’s Interior

As the fall arrives; painting the sidewalks and streets with a whirl of golden leaves, you may feel inspired to pick up the brush yourself. If autumn has a hint of Jack Frost, interior projects are always preferable. Painting your home’s interior allows you to get creative, have fun and reinvent the look of your indoor living space. TIP: For best results with your painting project make sure to prep/prewash the surface for proper paint adhesion. Visit EZstrip.ca for surface prep product recommendations.

Winterize Your Deck

Autumn weather can go either way. If you’re enjoying an extended summer, you may feel inspired to get outdoors and complete some exterior renovations while you still can. To winterize your deck, first wash the wood with a power washer or surface prep product to remove dirt and grime. Then let the surface completely dry out before applying a fresh coat of protective sealant or stain. This will provide years of life to your deck and allow you to enjoy it once all that snow melts away. TIP: For best results choose a sunny day with no chance of precipitation to apply sealant or stain. Visit EZstrip.ca for surface prep product recommendations.

Whether it's your primary residence or an investment property, it pays to get some key tasks and renovations done in the fall before you settle in for the winter. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors can reduce significant increases to your heating bill, make life more comfortable and increase your home’s curb appeal. Interior improvement projects can bring added value to your home and also increase the cozy feel you'll need to get ready for the chill of winter.