CDC: 13 Bathtub Refinisher Deaths Tied to Chemical

February 27, 2012

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning after tying a common paint-stripping chemical to the deaths of 13 workers who were refinishing bathtubs.

The CDC says Thursday’s warning is based on research that began at Michigan State University. It found 13 deaths in 2000-2011 of people using methylene chloride to strip paint from residential bathtubs with inadequate ventilation. Three deaths were in Michigan.

Methylene chloride is used as a degreaser and paint remover in industrial and home-improvement products.

The CDC says the chemical’s danger to furniture strippers and factory workers is widely known but not previously noted among bathtub refinishers.

It says manufactures and trade groups should publicize the chemical’s “extreme hazards” to bathtub refinishers.

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