A guy was using a common paint stripper to remove a bathtub coating in a small bathroom in an apartment building. A window was partially open for ventilation. The solution he was using contained 85% to 90% methylene chloride. He was found unconscious two hours after the project began. His cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation with acute methylene chloride toxicity. This happens in North America more than you think and the EPA is now working towards making stricker regulations in response to the overwhelming evidence of health risks posed by the use of paint strippers. Its top 2 chemicals of concern are methylene chloride and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).
Methylene chloride can cause a range of adverse health effects or death in workers and consumers, including harm to the central nervous system, liver and kidney toxicity, and cancer. NMP exposure risks during paint or coating removal, include neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and reproductive toxicity. Risks particularly to pregnant women – from exposure are of extreme concern as NMP can pass through the placenta and harm the baby.
Here is just some of the common paint stripping products that contain these chemicals. It's recommended you avoid using these stripping products when ever possible and look for safe alternatives we have provided a link for safer options below.
Circa 1850 Paint & Varnish Remover - methylene chloride
Citristrip Stripping Gel - NMP
Dads Easy Spray Paint & Varnish Remover - methylene chloride
DS Super Remover - methylene chloride
Dynamic Surf Pro The Paint and Varnish Buster - methylene chloride
Goof Off Graffiti Remover - NMP
Heirloom Furniture Stripper - methylene chloride
Jasco Paint & Epoxy Remover - methylene chloride
Klean Strip Natural Strip X-Stripper - methylene chloride
Minwax Paint & Varnish Remover - methylene chloride
Multi Strip Professional Paint Stripper - NMP
Peel Away 7 - NMP
Ready Strip Plus Paint & Varnish Remover - NMP
Super Strip - methylene chloride
Zinsser Stripfast Furniture Refinisher - methylene chloride
Zip-Strip Premium Paint and Finish Remover - methylene chloride
These brands and many other stripping products currently available contain hazardous chemicals that are toxic and not safe for consumer use without extensive protective equipment and forced ventilation. They need a lot more than opening a window to protect yourself from a lethal exposure.
The EPA recommends using water based or vegetable based strippers as a safe alternative. The most effective water based strippers and removers on the market today is the brand EZ Strip.