Removing paint can be a real challenge sometimes. This is when paint strippers come in handy. Whether you want to remove varnish from furniture or strip the paint off of baseboards, you will most likely need to use a paint stripper.
This also means that you are using chemicals to do the job, and this can pose some risks if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
The active ingredients in a paint stripper may be harmful to eyes, skin, respiratory tract, nervous system, and internal organs. Chemical paint strippers became popular years ago to remove lead-based paint. Different paint strippers have varying chemicals in them, but most of them include some amount of methylene chloride and other abrasive materials which cause paint to peel off.
Health hazards associated with paint strippers
Unfortunately, paint strippers pose many health risks, especially when they are used incorrectly. Take a look at some of the health hazards:
Skin damage- Direct contact with a paint stripper can result in dermatitis because it dissolves the skin’s natural protective oil barrier.
Respiratory damage- Paint strippers can irritate the nose and throat membranes, and they also have the ability to damage lung tissue as well.
Brain and nervous system damage- When the solvent exposure causes depression of the nervous system, it can result in symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and loss of coordination. Chronic exposure to paint strippers can cause permanent brain damage and seizures.
Paint strippers also pose a huge fire hazard because they are a combination of different chemicals, each with fire-causing potential. Be sure to get the least flammable type of paint stripper possible.
Precautions to take when using paint strippers
- Remove sources of heat or flame.
- Do the job outside to ensure proper ventilation.
- Wear eye protection to avoid irritation.
- Protect your hands with gloves.
- Dispose of solvent-soaked rags properly.
Chemical paint strippers can be harmful if ingested or if it gets on your skin or in your eyes, but they can be extremely useful when they are used in a correct manner. Be sure to closely follow directions and handle paint strippers with caution and care for best results.