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

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