Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lead Poisoning: The Ongoing Fight For Our Children

Have we been MISLEAD to believe lead poisoning exposure risks are not as serious as we think? Over 80,000,000 homes were built and painted before lead was banned in the US in 1978. Here is a link to one moms fight to expose the real struggles US families are facing now Mislead-Americas-Secret-Epidemic. This is not just an American problem either paints manufactured in Canada could contain as much as 50% lead by dry weight and they did not restrict the amount of lead added to interior paints until 1976. Even then, the restriction permitted a lead concentration of 5000 parts per million, an amount 8 times as high as the US restriction of 600 parts per million established in 1978. Follow this link for a very informative timeline of lead regulations in Canada and the US Lead Based Paint Problems.

The Truth 

There is NO SAFE LEVEL of lead for small children under 6 and renovations across North America continue to happen without proper lead removal certification causing potentially dangerous lead exposure to everyone in the area. By 1990, a growing body of international research, including US and Canadian research, demonstrated that lead was harmful to children's developing brain and nervous system. Media reports began characterizing lead poisoning as an endemic problem rather than as an isolated concern. By 1991 stories of children who had been poisoned not from eating paint chips, but from ingesting fine particles of dust started to surface. The burning, sanding, and scraping of lead paint produced fine lead particles that clung to surfaces, including children's fingers.

So What Can We Do? 

It may seem hopeless but in reality there are steps you can take to get involved. Renovate right, test surfaces painted prior to 1978 before removal projects start, test kits are easy to use and available at your local hardware store. Here is some more helpful info for your renovation EPA Renovation Guidelines. Taking control of your own renovation projects is a great start to a healthy home. If you see an unsafe removal project in progress report it! Follow this link to report violations in the USA lead-based-paint-complaints-tips-and-violations For more info on lead in Canada follow this link health-canada-reduce-your-exposure Together we can make North America a safer place for our young children! 

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post be sure to check out our other posts here

Monday, June 5, 2017

Paint Stripping with Methylene Chloride: The Silent Killer

Methylene chloride is a common solvent used in industry and consumer products, such as paint strippers and aerosols. It has caused extreme skin burns, acute poisonings some even resulting in death and is considered a workplace carcinogen. Despite serious health hazards and the availability of cost-effective safer alternatives, high concentrations of MC are still used in workplaces and in consumer products. Numerous poisonings and deaths have been reported over several decades among workers and consumers using furniture strippers or other products containing MC in unventilated areas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Household Products Database lists 27 consumer products containing MC, most common are paint strippers with concentrations greater than 50 percent. Methylene chloride has been banned from paint strippers (paint and graffiti removers) in the EU. Despite widespread recognition of harm, MC is still Not Adequately Regulated for consumer use in North America.

The Problem

Methylene Chloride vapor is absorbed quickly by the lungs at low concentrations that you cannot smell. Filter and respirator cartridges don’t protect you from MC vapor. Instead, you need a full-face supplied air respirators that people just don't use or have access to! This leaves you vulnerable to harmful and cases where MC is used in tight spaces deadly vapors.

A few weeks ago, a 21-year-old man tragically passed away after being overcome by chemical fumes while refinishing a bathtub. The young man was working for a small painting business in Tennessee.  His death is currently being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but is suspected to have been caused by methylene chloride exposure.  If confirmed, this would add to the dozens of reported deaths caused by the chemical’s use in paint stripping products over the past several decades.

The Solution

Safe alternatives are available! Finding a reliable replacement for Methylene Chloride based strippers can seem daunting but there are a few tried and true water based strippers using new removal technology that do not pose the same risks MC based strippers do to you and the environment. Our recommended choice is EZ Strip strippers and removers. With a longer set time you can remove the hazardous aspect of stripping coatings along with the concern for environmental impact when using EZ Strip. Visit for more details!

Proposed changes are in the works to help protect consumers! The EPA has proposed stricter regulations for Methylene Chloride including the proposal to prohibit the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for all consumer and most types of commercial paint removal, and to prohibit commercial use. These changes could however takes years to be finalized.

Using safer alternatives is the smart choice for coating removal to protect yourself and others around you. Do not risk harmful or deadly exposure when stripping paint and varnishes by using methylene chloride based products. Let products like EZ Strip do the work for you safely! Learn more about EZ Strip