Personal injury lawyers recently came across an announcement made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding a common paint stripping chemical that is often used to refinish bathtubs. The substance, called methylene chloride, is commonly used as a paint remover or degreaser in industrial and home improvement products.
The CDC’s announcement served as a warning against using any products containing the substance which Michigan State University research discovered was the cause for 13 deaths between 2000 and 2011. The 13 victims were workers who had used methylene chloride products to refinish bathtubs.
In its weekly report, the CDC commented on the 13 deaths, saying:
“Each death occurred in a residential bathroom with inadequate ventilation. Protective equipment, including a respirator, either was not used or was inadequate to protect against methylene chloride vapor.’’
The report went on to say that the chemical “has been recognized as potentially fatal to furniture strippers and factory workers but has not been reported previously as a cause of death among bathtub refinishers.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that using the chemical in confined spaces that lack sufficient ventilation is quite dangerous. In the same report, it urged labor safety organizations and public health agencies to “communicate the extreme hazards” of using the product under the wrong conditions. The author of the report, Michigan State’s Kenneth Rosenman, suggested to leave the product out of bathrooms entirely, citing that the vapors are heavier than air and linger after applications. Rosenman went on to explain:
“To use products containing methylene chloride safely, work areas must be well-ventilated, and when levels of methylene chloride exceed recommended exposure limits, workers must use protective equipment. In a small bathroom, it is unlikely these products can be used safely.’’
Personal Injury Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
Without proper warning, 13 workers used a product to complete a job and ended up losing their lives. Thirteen people died to refinish bathtubs. Dangerous products and chemicals, such as methylene chloride, should always come with proper warnings and clear safety instructions. It should not take research studies executed after the fact to determine that a product is dangerous.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, contact the New Jersey personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates, P.C. for a free legal consultation. Call 1-800-MessaLaw or submit a free online inquiry.