Bathtub Refinishing Product Can Cause Death! Beware Methylene Chloride!
Are you in the home improvement business? Do you use stringent and caustic products to "get the job done right?" Do you wear masks, gloves, respirators? In many instances you should. That little poison skeleton head or large black capped words might not be enough to alert you that the stuff can kill you and you must be careful. Perhaps, not heeding the warning and taking precaution may have played a small part in why some workers died after refinishing bathtubs.
The CDC has just issued a warning about methylene chloride. It is a powerful chemical, an industrial degreaser which is very effective in its ability to strip bathtubs. It is in a number of home improvement products and it is in paint-removers. It is also extremely deadly for workers who use in a closed area, regularly in larger quantities, then someone who uses a little, once. The product has been determined to be dangerous and is being linked to 13 worker deaths in 10 states.
Realization of just how potent methylene chloride could be started after an investigation in 2010 to assess what caused the death of a worker who refinished bathtubs. The individual who died was using a stripping product which contained methylene chrloride; the product was initially used on aircraft. NIOSH funded the study by the Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program to see to what extent the methylene chrloride could have been related to the worker's death.
During the process of studying the issues related to the chemical, researchers discovered two other individuals had died in Michigan of deaths similar to the death they had started investigating. Upon that discovery, investigators got in touch with CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and that group contacted OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). When OSHA checked its records, they identified 10 more deaths linked to the bathtub refinishing products containing methylene chloride stripping agents. These chemical compounds had been investigated for a decade.
The similarity amongst the deaths was clear. All took place in unventilated bathrooms. There was no precaution taken against the release of methylene chloride vapors. The report stated that the chemical "has been recognized as potentially fatal to furniture strippers and factory workers but has not been reported previously as a cause of death among bathtub refinishers." However, those 12 male individuals between the ages of 23 to 57 who had died in relation to bathtub refinishing, most probably came into contact with those concentrated vapors.Continued on the next page