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UMass Researchers Develop Paint Stripper Alternative

Thursday, January 18, 2018

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University of Massachusetts researchers, led by Toxics Use Reduction Institute research manager Greg Morose, recently developed a paint-stripping solvent that reportedly provides a safer alternative to more toxic traditional options that often contain methylene chloride.

Chemical Deaths

According to UMass Lowell, the Center for Public Integrity discovered at least 56 accidental exposure deaths in the United States since 1980 that have been linked to methylene chloride. Since 2000, at least 14 workers have died while using methylene chloride to refinish bathtubs. The vapors from this product can trigger the cessation of breathing as well as a heart attack.

University of Massachusetts Lowell

In an interview with CBS News correspondent Anna Werner, Morose demonstrated the solution with a test board with seven layers of primer, paint and polyurethane that was baked to simulate difficult-to-remove coatings. The safer solution lifted all layers of paint within 20 minutes.

Commonly sold dust masks and respirators are insufficient when it comes to protecting both workers and consumers. The only safe options are a full-face respirator with a separate air supply or exhaust ventilation are sufficient.

Safer Alternatives

During research, the team identified three chemicals that when combined were both safer and could remove paint within 20 minutes, the amount of time it takes for products with methylene chloride.

“Consumers and companies typically require a quick dwell time, and we’re excited that we can offer this solution as a safer alternative,” said Morose.

With stripping paint requiring highly active solvents, noted Morose, all paint-strippers have some hazard associated with them.

“TURI is confident, however, due to our initial testing, that the UMass Lowell formulation is much safer than paint strippers containing methylene chloride. After our final phases of testing, our goal is to get this safer product in the marketplace as soon as possible.”

In an interview with CBS News correspondent Anna Werner, Morose demonstrated the solution with a test board with seven layers of primer, paint and polyurethane that was baked to simulate difficult-to-remove coatings. The safer solution lifted all layers of paint within 20 minutes.

UMass provided funding in conjunction with TURI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The university has since applied for a patent for the paint-stripping solution.

“We hope to partner soon with a company to get this new formulation onto store shelves,” Morose said.

   

Tagged categories: Chemical stripping; Colleges and Universities; Health and safety; Paint; Research and development

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