In light of the U.S. EPA’s expected ban of paint strippers containing methylene chloride, C&EN’s Craig Bettenhausen tested four types of consumer paint strippers on paint-caked cabinet doors. ↓↓More info and references below↓↓
C&EN tested the following paint strippers:
Klean Strip Strip-X Stripper (contains methylene chloride and methanol)
EZ Strip (contains dimethyl glutarate, dimethyl adipate, dimethyl succinate, and triethyl phosphate)
Back to Nature Ready Strip Plus (contains N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, benzyl alcohol, and formic acid)
Citristrip Stripping Gel (contains N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, dimethyl glutarate, and dimethyl adipate)
Safety note: C&EN consulted with a chemical safety professional to design the setup for this experiment. To minimize inhalation of chemical vapors, we worked outside. To protect eyes and skin, we used safety goggles, a face shield, a polyvinyl chloride apron, and butyl rubber gauntlet-style gloves on top of nitrile gloves.
We also used small quantities appropriate for the limited area of the tests. The doors were subsequently stripped by an EPA-certified refinishing shop.
For more information, please refer to the PubChem safety summary on methylene chloride:
Methodology: We chose a 30-minute test time because it was within the ranges of residence time listed on all the containers and was reasonable from a video-production standpoint. In subsequent tests with Back to Nature ReadyStrip Plus and Citristrip, we left the stripper in contact with the surface for 24 hours. Back to Nature ReadyStrip Plus removed only the top layer of latex paint. Citristrip removed multiple layers of latex paint but did not seem to affect the lead paint layer. Other enhancements, such as using plastic, cloth, or water misting to slow down evaporation, were outside the scope of this experiment.
We updated this description on 6/26/2019 to include more information about the safety and methodology of this experiment.
Replacing methylene chloride in paint strippers | C&EN
EPA to ban methylene chloride in paint strippers | C&EN
EPA assessment of methylene chloride in paint strippers identifies health risks | C&EN
Paint Stripper Chemical Methylene Chloride Poses Cancer, Other Health Risks, EPA Says | C&EN