In recent years the consumer has become more demanding in terms of the environment and their family’s wellbeing, which has been reflected in a wide range of areas such as the growth of low odour paints and varnishes, natural products, organic foods, fair trade products, etc, etc.

With regard to DIY, one of the most dangerous DIY jobs is stripping old paintwork/varnishes etc.  In and around the home.  This is due to the fact that the traditional hazardous paint strippers contain an ingredient called methylene chloride, or sometimes called dichloromethane (DCM).  This ingredient causes dizziness, nausea and even death in severe cases (a list of fatalities/incidents can be found on the European Association for Safer Coatings removal website:  Classified as a Class 3 Carcinogen, and ‘very high’ VOC, DCM evaporates quickly and is easily inhaled.  it can also cause problems for people with heart, lung or blood diseases.  Prolonged high exposure can cause liver & kidney damage.

Now the EU has passed legislation to further restrict the use of DCM products, in particular to the consumer.  In January of this year, the European Commission passed a law to totally ban DCM paint strippers to the consumer (who are least aware of the dangers of dichloromethane and who have the least access to protective equipment), plus a general ban to professionals operating outside industrial premises, and the Member States can opt to allow further use by professionals but only with adequate training together with a licence to operate.

But, why wait for this to become law in 2011? Take action now!!

Use a safe alternative.

So how do you strip paint safely?

1. Use a non-DCM paint stripper or water-based products – such as Home Strip® from Eco Solutions Limited ( Take care to read the label information carefully – if not using Home Strip®.  Some non-DCM products contain N-methyl Pyrrolidone (NMP), which is dangerous for pregnant women.

2. Always clear away paint waste straight away to avoid contaminating other areas.

3. Remember that lead-based paints are normally present in properties over 40 years old – this type of paint is particularly dangerous for young children.  Using a water-based paint stripper such as Home Strip® will reduce the risk of exposure to lead because the product encapsulates any lead particles into the emulsion, preventing dangerous airborne particles.  Never sand painted surfaces that you suspect may contain lead-based paint.

From the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website (, there is information on admissions to hospital of at least once per day where accident victims have been using paint stripper or paint thinners.

Remember to prepare well for the job, and use the product company’s technical or customer carline telephone number to ensure you are properly protected.

For safe products which look after everyone’s interests, contact Eco Solutions Limited on Tel: 01934 844484, Fax: 01934 844110, or visit:

Source: Green- The Directory of Sustainability 2009/10

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