OSHA has recently announced new resources, including a video and fatal facts, that focus on the safer (non-toxic) alternatives to remove paint, coatings, and finishes.
Many liquid paint strippers and solvents contain methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is a cancer-causing chemical that can easily be found in products on the shelves of your local hardware or paint stores. Workers are at risk to serious illness or death when exposed to methylene chloride in enclosed spaces, mainly through inhalation and contact with their skin.
The video, Toxic Paint Removers: Safer Alternatives, produced by the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program within the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, explains the events that led to a near-death incident involving a painter who was overcome by methylene chloride vapors; the hazards of using methylene chloride; and safer alternatives that are available to remove paint and other coatings/finishes. Painting and other contractors are encouraged to include this video as part of a comprehensive safety and health training program.