Paint-stripping products containing methylene chloride can be deadly if you inhale them. The highly volatile, colorless and toxic chemical is widely used as a degreaser and paint stripper and is available in many over-the-counter products sold at home-improvement stores. Applied in a confined space like a bathroom, this chemical is particularly dangerous.
An investigation started by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) in 2011 has found that 13 deaths since 2000 — including three in Michigan — have involved the use of paint-stripping products containing methylene chloride.
“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.”
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