Environmentally-better paint strippers DO work

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In a previous episode I was trying to get a clear coating off a passage lockset. Wasn't coated with lacquer as I had assumed, so lacquer thinner did nothing. Tried my environmentally-friendly paint stripper (3M Safest Stripper), which worked but slowly.
Well, folks, that's the key. The stuff *does* work. Nowhere near as fast as the nasty, toxic stuff (methylene chloride), which starts wrinkling up the finish almost immediately.
The thing with these new "green" strippers is that they work much more slowly than the bad old stuff. But left overnight, they'll eventually soften the finish to the point where it can be physically removed. In my case, it took rubbing with fine steel wool to get the last of the finish off (thanks to the person who suggested that).
So the trick is to let it stay on long enough, and also to glop the stuff on as thickly as possible. Fortunately, the 3M stuff is very thick and stays on pretty well, even on vertical surfaces. I also found I needed to keep the items being stripped covered so the stripper didn't dry up, which was easily done by draping a piece of plastic over the tray.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Paint is toxic (if you drink it). So is bug spray, fertilizer, most dishwashing liquids, Brasso, Turpentine, Kerosene, and some blends of Louisiana coffee. In my view, "toxicity" is an insufficient reason to avoid something.
Personally, I find most "environmentally friendly" substances to be over-priced, under-powered, or simply ineffective (or all three). Still, if someone gets a "warm fuzzy," by using them, I suppose there's no real harm.
I'm glad it worked out for you.
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On 2/8/2009 4:22 PM HeyBub spake thus:

Can't argue with that. While I believe in using them in the interest of doing less harm, what you say is true. A lot of this has to do with "greenwashing", the likes of which we've just begun to see (i.e., the usual charlatans looking to cash in on the latest craze).
The other answer is that they just haven't found the right stuff to replace the bad old stuff yet. (Like lead-free solder to comply with ROHS, which many people who work with it hate: lead is bad stuff, but it makes a great solder, as well as a very good pigment.)
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I would agree with you that often:
"environmentally friendly" substances to be over-priced, under-powered, or simply ineffective (or all three). "
But as David stated there are safer strippers that work...given a bit of time.
however...I would disagree that"
"toxicity" is an insufficient reason to avoid something.
Methylene Chloride is an awesome paint stripper BUT when you're finished....what about the residue? Just send it to the land fill to contaminate the ground water in your area?
The problem with toxic chemicals is that they often find their way into water sources or the air.
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

Almost never from municipal landfills. Municipal landfills are "engineered" by the most qualified political appointees.
Ever see an empty box of "Tide" go into a landfill? I bet there are millions. Interestingly, the box is printed (orange) with a terribly toxic Chromium compound.
As for Methylene chloride, most of it is evaporates where it is broken down (mainly) by sunlight with a half-life of about 100 days. MC is not soluble in water, and what does get there breaks down to CO2, with a half-life of about 8 days. The "sludge" you see as a result of MC use is dead paint, not MC. Methylene chloride is one of the more benign industrial chemicals.
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HeyBub wrote:

asphyxiation.......here is an MSDS for paint remover with m.c. in it.
http://www.cleanersolutions.org/downloads/msds/555/Strypeeze%20MSDS.pdf
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Gee whiz, Louise!
If the amount of MC used in industry can be represented by a blade of grass, Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and Hydrochloric Acid can be represented by the football field containing that blade of grass. There are many industrial chemicals that are more user un-friendly and used in magnitudes greater quantities.
As for the specific concerns, Paint (some) is flammable,.fried chicken contains carcinogens, and concrete will surely asphyxiate you.
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HeyBub wrote:

the uninformed that m.c. is not benign.
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On 2/9/2009 12:18 PM HeyBub spake thus:

Except that sodium hydroxide and HCl are neither of them carcinogenic, just caustic.
Methylene chloride is truly evil stuff, to be avoided at all costs in my book.
But maybe you think we should go back to those halcyon days when gasoline contained lead, houses were sheathed and insulated with asbestos, transformers were cooled with PCBs, fields were sprayed with DDT, electronic components were cleaned with TCE, and you could pay a nickel to zap your feet with X-rays*. When men were men, until they got cut down by fatal tumors.
* I have actual memories of this from my childhood.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

If we had kept up with the DDT back then we would have eliminated the now rapidly growing malaria problem. Perhaps why we've started using DDT again, albeit a bit more carefully...
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Right. But they are considerably, CONSIDERABLY, more toxic than Methelyne chloride.

You need a new book. Methylene chloride is only slightly more hazardous than Cool Whip.

I'd be for some of that.
* Asbestos is superior to almost anything else as a fire retardant and insulation material. The WTC building that had its steel beams coated with asbestos stood the fire for almost an hour longer than its twin. There has never been a case of cancer caused by exposure to commercial asbestos.
* There has never been a human sickness, let alone death, attributed to DDT. On the contrary, literally millions have died as a result of the absence of DDT.
* Tetraethyl lead, as well as other commercial uses of lead, are almost completely benign, the one exception I can think of is bullets. The most common, provable, environmental problem associated with lead is when precious snowflakes gnaw on lead-based paints.
I don't know about the other stuff.
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Hello,
Those are some statements about half-lives! Can you point me toward where you got them from? If you are saying that the small amount of MC that gets dissolved or entrained in water breaks down to CO2, what happens to the two chlorine atoms?
MC is not nominally soluble in water but there is a very small solubility. It can also be entrained. While not enough to worry about when stripping furniture, it is an issue with ground water contamination. It is the "barrel of sewage/barrel of wine" dilemma.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I think you'll find that "overnight" for 50yr old low tech finishes translates into "all eternity" on more modern finishes.
The keys to helping the newer "safe" strippers along are heat and agitation. Heat speeds up all chemical activity and agitation helps loosen the finishes and let the stripper penetrate. You get both with a heated ultrasonic cleaner like I noted in the previous post.
Of course, the same heat and agitation lets the old "dangerous" strippers take finishes off in seconds...
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I missed the previous episode, but how environmentally friendly would it be to leave whatever protective finish alone? -----
- gpsman
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On 2/8/2009 7:51 PM gpsman spake thus:

Very. But very ugly in this case. It needed removed.
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Depends on your degree of commitment to environmental-friendliness, I would think.
A little ugly to someone so committed seems like it might be some sort of badge of honor, to be exhibited to others so inclined; I coulda removed the crappy-looking factory finish, but I always place the interests of "the earth" before my own. -----
- gpsman
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On 2/8/2009 10:54 PM gpsman spake thus:

Ah, yes; but I have to place the wishes of my customer before all else. (Within reason.)
The good news is that the tree-hugging eco-friendly stuff is doing the job just fine. Probably more of an impact from all the water I'm using to rinse it off in drought-plagued California.
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gpsman wrote:

You mean like a Prius?
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Is this the new English? Did I miss the memo that said this was good grammar, or even made sense?
Seems like everybody is writing, and SPEAKING like this now.
How about?
It needed TO BE removed. <or> It needed removAL.
I don't mean to pick but what is up with that construct lately? Drives me crazy.
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On 2/10/2009 7:01 AM snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com spake thus:

Sorry it bugs you, but I picked it up from one of my customers who hails from Pennsylvania.
I like it; "The house needs painted."
And no, it's actually some pretty old English (or perhaps Pennsylvania "Dutch").
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