Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What Resources Can Help Retailers Ensure Safer Chemicals?

We recognize that considerable effort may be needed to remove a chemical of high concern from the supply chain while still providing the public with products that are effective and affordable. Slow progress on a federal level towards an American environment less toxic to human health seems to be the current pace. But a new survey of state-level lawmaking around the country has shown an increase.

More than 120 measures aimed at reducing hazardous chemical exposure in everyday life are moving in American legislatures this year, according to the latest annual count by the Safer States coalition.  The tally has grown by a dozen in the last couple of weeks and may increase further.

Focused on harmful chemicals

Safer States is a network of organizations focused on safeguarding human health — and, therefore, overall environmental health — by reducing reliance on harmful chemicals. In all, the group counts 173 significant measures adopted by 35 states since 2000.

Unfortunately, too many suppliers faced with the challenge of reducing harmful chemicals on their shelves simply offer only slightly altered chemistries. These often prove to be “regrettable substitutes,” which are chemicals that are arguably somewhat safer than the targeted chemical of high concern, but which display hazard characteristics and exposure potential similar to the chemistries they replace. Often growing concerns are revealed gradually as health and safety data gaps on the “regrettable substitutes” are slowly filled through more research. N‐Methyl pyrrolidone or (NMP) is a great example of a chemical that was thought to be a great alternative chemical for paint stripping (found in products like Citristrip and Ready Strip) only to be discovered later as a reproductive organ toxin.

For retailers to step off this costly treadmill of constantly chasing and replacing alternative chemistries requires careful assessment and substitution planning. Although a commitment to continuous improvement must allow for imperfect transition chemistries, much greater attention should be paid to getting it as right as possible in the first instance.

We encourage retailers to seek additional expert assistance and advice, follow this link for a list of experts that can help  http://saferchemicals.org/for-retailers/

High Levels Of Concern 

The Occupational Health Branch investigated two incidents in California in which workers died after using paint strippers containing methylene chloride. Methylene chloride has been linked by Federal OSHA to over 50 worker deaths nationwide since the mid-1980s. Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams, and as a degreaser. Because of the serious harm that can occur from inhaling methylene chloride vapors, employers, workers, and consumers should always consider safer alternatives to strip paint from surfaces.

One proven safe alternative to toxic paint stripping chemicals is stripping and removal products from EZ Strip. EZ Strip's active removal ingredients
(Dibasic esters) sit at the top of the California Department of Public Health of recommended alternatives.

To learn more about EZ Strip and how you can become a retailer of these products visit http://www.ezstrip.ca/

Friday, February 23, 2018

What You Should Know About Using Paint Strippers


Paint strippers contain chemicals that loosen paint from surfaces. These chemicals can harm you or cause cancer or even death if they are not used properly. Since many are absorbed readily through the skin or are inhaled easily, some paint stripping chemicals can irritate the skin and eyes or cause headaches, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, or loss of coordination. Some chemicals may cause developmental or reproductive problems, or damage the liver, kidney, or brain. Others catch fire easily.

More consumers are choosing to complete do-it-yourself (DIY) projects in their homes. Using paint strippers in confined spaces, can potentially expose you to dangerous chemicals through inhalation and dermal absorption. Proper knowledge/handling of paint strippers will reduce your exposure to these chemicals lessening your health risks and environmental impact.



Most paint strippers are solvent-based. Solvents dissolve the bond between the substrate and paint. Solvents also can dissolve other materials, including the latex or rubber of common household or dish washing gloves. Some solvents will irritate or burn the skin, while some cause serious health effects even if contact does not immediately cause pain. In addition, many solvents evaporate quickly, and they can be easily inhaled. Inhalation of these solvents can produce health effects immediately or years after exposure.

It is especially important to use paint strippers that contain solvents either outdoors or in an indoor area with strong fresh air movement (e.g., with a fan). Some paint strippers contain  solvents that do not evaporate quickly. When using these strippers indoors, be sure to open windows and doors to provide fresh air movement in and out of the work site. You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety precautions. Use the amount of stripper recommended by the manufacturer to avoid buildup of harmful fumes. The different types of solvent-based paint strippers and their potential hazards and safety precautions include:

A. Methylene chloride (also called dichloromethane, or DCM) Methylene chloride is the most commonly used chemical in paint strippers. Methylene chloride products come in two varieties: nonflammable and flammable. The flammable paint strippers have less methylene chloride then the nonflammable paint strippers, but they have other flammable chemicals, including acetone, toluene, or methanol.

Methylene chloride causes cancer in laboratory animals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) consider methylene chloride to be a potential cause of cancer in humans. Methylene chloride evaporates quickly, and you can inhale it easily. Breathing high levels of methylene chloride over short periods of time can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, and lungs. It can also cause dizziness, headache, lack of coordination, and death in cases of high exposure and poor or no ventilation. High exposures to methylene chloride for long periods can also cause liver and kidney damage. The human body can change some inhaled methylene chloride to carbon monoxide (CO). CO lowers the blood's ability to carry oxygen. This may cause problems for people with heart, lung, or blood disease who use methylene chloride paint strippers indoors without fresh air and cross ventilation.

DIY use of methylene chloride-based paint strippers has increased resulting in an increase in deaths. If work must be done indoors under low ventilation conditions, consider having the work done professionally instead of attempting it yourself or consider a safer removal method. 

B. Acetone, toluene, and methanol 
Acetone, toluene, and methanol are chemicals that are commonly used together in paint strippers, and they evaporate quickly and are very flammable. Breathing high levels of these chemicals can cause a variety of effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. Breathing high levels of toluene may harm unborn children, and breathing very high levels for a long period may cause brain damage. Toluene and methanol are poisonous if swallowed.

To avoid fire and health problems, avoid using products that contain these chemicals. Non-flammable safer removal options are available.

C. N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)
Excessive contact with NMP may cause skin swelling, blistering, and burns. These skin reactions may not appear until sometime after exposure. NMP is readily absorbed through the skin and may cause health problems. Adverse health effects in the developing fetus have been noted in laboratory animals exposed to some of the chemicals in paint strippers. Therefore, women of child-bearing age who work with or use paint strippers on a regular basis, such as at work, should take special precautionary measures to decrease their risk from dermal/or and inhalation exposure.

Some paint strippers have a citrus smell or make "environmentally friendly" claims. However, these paint strippers may also be hazardous, despite these claims, and they may contain NMP.


A. Caustic alkalis
Caustic reacts with the paint coating and loosen it from the surface. One of the chemicals in this type of stripper is sodium hydroxide (lye). Some people do not use caustic alkalis because caustic products can darken wood and raise the grain.

Caustic alkalis can cause severe burns to skin and eyes even with short contact. Caustic alkalis are also highly toxic if swallowed.


A. Dimethyl Esters (also known as Dibasic Esters, DBE, and DMEs*)
DBEs are readily biodegradable, low odor, low VOC strippers and are excellent solvent substitutes in many parts cleaning and stripping applications. Commercial acceptance and use of dimethyl esters and dibasic esters continues to increase due to their positive economic, environmental and performance characteristics.

Dimethyl esters and dibasic esters can be used replace more conventional and increasingly regulated removal materials and industrial solvents, including, but not limited to:

  • N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)
  • MEK
  • methylene chloride
  • isophorone
  • certain glycol ethers and their acetates
  • acetone
  • toluene
  • methanol
  • cresylic acid
  • caustic alkalis

With a preferable environmental, health and safety profile DBEs are considered a “greener” or environmentally preferable and safer product due to several safety and regulatory attributes, including:


  • Low VOC 
  • Readily Biodegradable
  • Not included CERCLA/SARA hazardous substances list
  • Not considered a hazardous waste under RCRA 
  • Not included on the CWA list of hazardous substances
  • Used in EPA Safer Choice formulations


  • Not considered a carcinogen or reproductive toxin
  • Low levels of toxicity
  • Low Odor
  • Main components not subject to Proposition 65
  • Included on EPA list of safer chemicals for use in Safer Choice formulations


  • Non Flammable
  • Non Corrosive
  • Non Hazardous DOT
  • High Flash Point
  • High Boiling Point
  • Slowly Evaporation Rate


Paint strippers contain different chemicals, and the potential hazards are different for various products. Its important to remember each product has specific safety precautions. However, there are some general safety steps to keep in mind when using any paint stripper. If you use paint strippers frequently, it is particularly important that you follow these steps:

1. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions on the label. Do not assume you already know how to use the product. The hazards may be different from one product to another, and the ingredients in individual products often change over time. The label tells you what actions you should take to reduce hazards and the first aid measures to use.

2. Wear chemical-resistant gloves appropriate to the type of stripper being used. Examples include gloves made with butyl rubber or neoprene. See the manufacturer's instructions or a material safety data sheet (MSDS) on your product to determine the appropriate glove type. Also, ask your local store what type of gloves to choose for your product. Common kitchen latex gloves do not provide enough protection. Replace gloves often to decrease dermal exposure risk.

3. Avoid getting the paint stripper on your skin or in your eyes. Wear protective clothing and goggles appropriate for the project and type of stripper.

4. Only use paint strippers outdoors never indoors unless stripper states it safe to do so. If you must use them indoors, cross-ventilate by opening all doors and windows. Never use any paint stripper in a poorly ventilated area. Make sure there is fresh air movement throughout the room. Ventilate the area before, during, and after applying it and when stripping by using a fan that is blowing air away from you and to the outside. A fan is particularly important for nonflammable products that evaporate quickly, such as methylene chloride. However, electrical sparks from fans may increase the chance of flammable paint stripper fumes catching fire. If work must be done indoors under low ventilation conditions, consider having the work done professionally instead of attempting it yourself.

5. Do not use flammable paint strippers near any source of sparks, flame, or high heat. Do not work near gas stoves, kerosene heaters, gas or electric water heaters, gas or electric clothes dryers, gas or electric furnaces, gas or electric space heaters, sanders, buffers, or other electric hand tools. Open flames, cigarettes, matches, lighters, pilot lights, or electric sparks can cause the chemicals in paint strippers to suddenly catch fire.

7. Only strip paint with chemicals that are marketed as paint strippers. Never use gasoline, lighter fluid, or kerosene to strip paint.

8. Dispose of paint strippers according to the instructions on the label. If you have any questions, ask your local environmental sanitation department about proper disposal. 

When it comes to paint stripping knowledge is power always know exactly what your working with from the removal product to the material you are stripping. Using some basic safety precautions that start at the time of purchasing the stripper and finish with the proper disposal of removed materials will ensure your safety and low environmental impact.

Learn more about safer stripping choices from EZ Strip here http://www.ezstrip.ca/

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

DIY Painted Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Popcorn Ceiling Texture the bumpy lumpy DIY Savvy Home Owners dread! This stuff dates your home and is impossible to clean. If it has never been painted GREAT carefully spritz with water and scrape off softened material for that modern smooth look. But if it has been painted and that is often the case no amount of water will soften that texture. Dry scraping is tough and messy. You can skim coat over the texture with a lot of drywall mud and a well trained trowel hand. But when you go to sand that skim coat for a smooth finish it's dust city! So finding a dust free DIY friendly removal option for painted drywall textures can be very difficult. EZ Strip has developed a low VOC wet working remover that penetrates through paint and encapsulates the softened texture for a dust free DIY friendly removal option!

Here are the steps:  

    Protect your walls and floors with plastic

Apply a thick even coating of EZ Strip Popcorn Ceiling Remover

Cover treated area with plastic to keep product wet and working set times vary 4 - 12 hours

Scrape softened material with a mud spatula or scraper blade. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Shake your bottle of easy strip before pouring into a container for application. 
  • Use a wide brush for a quick application.
  • Smooth out any air bubbles in plastic for a better set.
  • Test before you scrape let the product do the work for you don't scrape till its ready. 
  • Spritz with water during removal to keep product moist while scraping.
  • Scrape carefully so don't damage the drywall paper lining.
  • Scrape along the tape seems (the joints between drywall boards) and be careful not to remove them.
  • Wipe surface clean with a damp clean cloth and let surface completely dry before patching and painting.

EZ Strip Popcorn Ceiling Remover works on all kinds of drywall textures!


Watch The How To Remove Video!

Where To Buy

Visit the EZ Strip Website today for more removal details, project ideas and purchase info @ EZstrip.ca


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Chemical Watch List: The Fight For Safer Consumer Products Is On!

The Environmental Protection Agency will indefinitely postpone bans on certain uses of three toxic chemicals found in consumer products, according to an update of the Trump administration’s regulatory plans. E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt is “blatantly ignoring Congress’s clear directive to the agency to better protect the health and safety of millions of Americans by more effectively regulating some of the most dangerous chemicals known to man,” said Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware and the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. The proposed bans targeted methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), ingredients in paint strippers, and trichloroethylene (TCE), used as a spot cleaner in dry-cleaning and as a degreasing agent.

Public health experts had been pushing for faster review of methylene chloride-based paint strippers after several deaths from inhalation, among them Kevin Hartley a young man who died at the age of 21 while working with a product that contains methylene chloride. Kevin’s story, powerfully relayed by his mother Wendy, illustrates the need to ban high-risk uses of this chemical. Follow this link to hear her account of the incident Wendy Hartley's Story

The state of California has taken matters into their owns hands when it comes to the use and regulation of methylene chloride in consumer products. The California's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has proposed regulations to name paint strippers containing methylene chloride a "priority product". The move comes under the state's Safer Consumer Products (SCP) programme and is the next step in a process that could lead to the products being restricted or banned in California. The agency said it will accept written comments until 18 January, and will hold a public hearing on 8 January (Just days away). Once the regulation is finalized, manufacturers of such products sold in the state will have 60 days to register with the department and begin an analysis to determine if a safer alternative is possible.

The only safe alternatives we trust is strippers and removers from EZ Strip! They use water technology that changes the way paint strippers work so they don't release harmful toxic fumes into the air, or have toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin. Safe consumer removal products is the only way companies should be doing business. The health and safety of people should always be first for more info on safe removal options visit EZstrip.ca

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ranking Retailers On Products They Sell With Toxic Chemicals

Are Your Favorite Retailers Taking Action on Toxics?

The report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products is in & the Mind The Store Campaign found one-third of 30 major U.S. retailers are leaders, but two-thirds are seriously lagging behind. When you walk into a trusted store, you expect the products on the shelves to be safe. But toxic chemicals are hiding in everyday products all around us like the cleaning & removal products we buy at the local hardware store for use in the home, shop, or garage. Here is how some of your favorite stops to shop ranked on the toxic product scale.


Doctors Are Sounding the Alarm

A growing body of science has linked exposure to toxic chemicals to health problems and diseases such as cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, and reproductive disorders. Although these chemicals come from multiple sources, many are present in the products we buy. Now more than ever, we need companies to step up and tackle toxic chemicals. Cancer cases and infertility rates are soaring—and scientists agree that exposure to toxic chemicals from various sources can contribute. 

Calling All Change-Makers

It's time retailers put the interests of our families' health above the special interests of chemical corporations. Big retailers can innovate to reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals from the products they carry and safeguard our health. As a consumer, you have ENORMOUS power. Big retailers care what YOU think. By using your purchase power only invest in products you know to be safe. Research items your not sure about before buying. Spending a little more time looking before buying can make your home a much safer place for you and your family.

Safer Removal Options Are Out There

There are companies doing their part to make safer removal options for consumers in some of the most hazardous sections of the hardware store. Paint strippers, glue removers and graffiti cleaners are some of the toughest products to find truly safe alternatives for. That's why EZ Strip has developed a whole line of strippers and removers that tackle these tough removal jobs and more with skin safe low VOC formulas that clean up with just water. For more info on EZ Strip products visit EZstrip.ca 

To get a the full retailers report card and learn more about your favorite shop stop follow this link Retailer Report Card   

Want to do more? Call on the stores where you shop to take the lead on making sure the products they sell are safe. Raise your voice! Tell Big Retailers: It’s time to eliminate toxic chemicals. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Public Paint Stripping Hazards: City to Foot Bills for Children's Chemical Burns

The city of Lewiston, Idaho has decided to pay the medical bills for children from two families who suffered chemical burns last month at Pioneer Park when city employees neglected to supervise toxic paint stripper that was applied to graffiti.

According to police reports and tort claims filed by Katie Giolitti and Jennifer Kaufman the incident happened near the drinking fountain at the Pioneer Park restrooms. Kaufman and her husband, Joe Kaufman (the city's storm water engineer), had brought their children and Giolitti's children to the park for a play date when the children needed to use the restroom.

While Kaufman was helping another child get a drink in the fountain, one of her 1-year-old twin daughters slipped and fell in the paint stripper, coating her upper leg with the chemical. The Giolittis' 6-year-old daughter also stepped in the chemical and began to complain that her foot burned. "There was a soapy substance on the cement near the water fountain with an A-frame type sign over it," Kaufman wrote in her claim. "There was nothing indicating it was a hazardous substance."

Kaufman scooped up her daughter and led the other child to the nearby fountain to rinse them off while someone called 911. She realized that the skin on her arm also was burning from coming into contact with the paint stripper while carrying her daughter.

She said the insurance company indicated that her claim was initially denied because city parks are "at your own risk" facilities, but she rejected that reasoning because caustic substances aren't something a reasonable person would expect to be present at a city park. City Manager Jim Bennett said "I determined that in this instance, it was the best action the city could take to pay the medical expenses for these families."

Parks and Recreation Director Tim Barker said the seasonal employees involved in the incident had tried other methods of removing the graffiti before resorting to the powerful paint stripper. They applied a thick layer to the concrete, placed the sandwich-style barricade over it, and were instructed to supervise the site, he said. But the employees left to clean nearby parks department vehicles, according to the incident report. For full article follow link http://lmtribune.com/northwest/city-to-foot-bills-for-children-s-chemical-burns/article_010168bc-dddc-5f80-9974-2eebf8d45893.html

Using toxic caustic paint stripping products in public places poses high risk to the public and city workers have other non toxic paint removal options available to them. Using a non toxic paint stripper like EZ Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper or EZ Strip All Purpose Remover to remove graffiti allows for an effective removal with no hazards to the public or the environment. EZ Strip paint removal products are skin safe, low VOC, biodegradable, and clean up with just water. So you get all the power you need to strip paint without the high health hazard risks.

Visit EZstrip.ca for more product details and where to buy today!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Environmental Impact: What Effect Does Paint Stripping & Refinishing Chemicals Have On Our Ozone?

No matter if your stripping paint for home improvement, have a refinishing hobby, own and operate a professional refinishing business, or provide a professional coating stripping service the chemicals involved can be hazardous and cause significant impact on the environment. Replacing solvent-based paint strippers with non-hazardous alternatives can reduce your environmental impact and reduce hazardous waste generated during your stripping project.

Many paint strippers are solvent-based, and contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans. Some are flammable, and most can cause water and air pollution if not handled properly. Toxic chemicals in paint strippers may include Methylene chloride (also called dichloromethane, or DCM), methyl ethyl ketone (or 2-Butanone), acetone, toluene, methanol, N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), or xylene. These chemicals contain high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Paint products being stripped also contain VOCs. VOCs react with oxygen and cause damage to the ozone layer. The damage is thought to be a contributory factor to global warming as part of the greenhouse effect. 

The ozone layer, which has been recovering slowly since the Montreal Protocol (1987) banned CFC gases, is again threatened, this time by chemical compounds used in paint strippers. Levels of Methylene chloride (DCM) are rapidly increasing in the stratosphere, threatening to delay the return to normal of the ozone layer alerts the study published in Nature Communications. Source - https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15962 Although “modest at present, the impact of DCM on the ozone has grown significantly in recent years,” writes the team of American and British researchers. “Continued growth would offset some of the gains made by the Montreal Protocol,” they add.

The ozone layer forms a gaseous shield, between 10 and 50 km altitude, protecting the Earth from ultraviolet rays. A new study attempts to evaluate the damage caused by solvents for paints and varnishes. According to this research, the level of DCM in the stratosphere has almost doubled since 2004. If this growth were to continue, it could delay the recovery of ozone over Antarctica by more than a decade – where the “hole” was most alarming.

“We must act now to stop the emanations of DCM into the atmosphere if we want to avoid ruining 30 years of exemplary scientific and political action that has undoubtedly saved many lives,” said Grant Allen, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Manchester, in a commentary. Working on a restoration or refinishing project doesn’t need to mean poisoning yourself and the environment. Safer alternatives for stripping surfaces are available but some caution is required. You can find a lot of alternative choice strippers that claim they are safer than traditional chemical strippers and that is true. But the problem is they still pose health and environmental risks. 

EZ Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper is different from the other "safe alternatives" out there. The main active ingredient in EZ Strip strippers is Dibasic esters (DBEs). They do not absorb through skin and have low VOC properties. Instead of a chemical reaction that releases harmful vapors from the coating being stripped it simply breaks the bond between coating and surface so the paint or varnish can be removed easily without the release of VOCs. DBEs are water soluble and biodegradable which also reduce environmental impact. 

If you liked this be sure to check out our other blog posts here https://ezstripblog.blogspot.ca/  

Learn more about EZ Strip stripping alternatives & where to buy here http://www.ezstrip.ca/