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