MSU: Bathtub refinishing chemical is dangerous

Michigan State University researchers have notified federal officials that methylene chloride, a highly volatile, colorless and toxic chemical that is widely used as a degreaser and paint stripper, appears to have been a factor in the deaths of at least 13 bathtub refinishers in Michigan since 2000.
The chemical, in addition to being used in industrial settings, is available in many over-the-counter products sold at home improvement stores.
“To use products containing methylene chloride safely, work areas must be well-ventilated, and when levels of methylene chloride exceed recommended exposure limits, workers must use protective equipment,” said Kenneth Rosenman, chief of MSU’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the College of Human Medicine. “In a small bathroom, it is unlikely these products can be used safely.” Even respirators did not provide enough protection from the chemical vapors, researchers said.
While it previously was identified as a potentially fatal occupational hazard in furniture strippers and factory workers, a report released today in the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report is the first time methylene chloride has been identified as a hazard to bathtub refinishers.
Since its vapors are heavier than air, they likely remain in bathtubs after application, causing increased danger to workers applying a paint-stripping product.
“The extreme hazards of using products with this chemical in bathtub refinishing need to be clearly communicated to employers, workers and the general public,” Rosenman said. “Safer methods using alternative products should be recommended.”
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10 Responses to “MSU: Bathtub refinishing chemical is dangerous”

  1. rose says:

    after having our bathtub refinished our cat died from the toxins from this chemical.

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