California is considering whether an allegedly dangerous chemical found in common paint strippers should be taken off the market. Health authorities there say dozens of people have died from exposure to methylene chloride, which can kill in minutes if inhaled. It’s especially dangerous in enclosed spaces.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also proposing a ban, but chemical manufacturers oppose that idea. They say the compound is safe if used correctly.
Wendy Hartley’s son, Kevin, was just 21 and working at a new job refinishing bathrooms for his uncle.
“He would light up the room when he walked in. He had that smile,” she said. “He wouldn’t have to worry about bills. He would make good money doing it.”
Kevin took a special training course to protect himself from chemicals used to strip paint. In April, he was refinishing a bathtub in a Nashville apartment complex when his brother called their mom at work.
“He said, I’m sorry mom. I did everything that I could and I couldn’t save him,” Hartley said.
The cause of Kevin’s death? The medical examiner later determined that, despite wearing gloves and a respirator, he’d been overcome by a chemical in the paint stripper he was using – methylene chloride.
Cecelia Leto at (609) 882-6100 ext. 308 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.