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Paint stripper could be cause of bath refinisher’s fatal illness

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the ban of two toxic chemicals in January. Methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone are highly toxic ingredients present in paint strippers and products that are used to remove coatings such as those used on baths. The agency says these chemicals pose hazards that could cause occupational illness that might be lethal to employees nationwide, including in Missouri.

Reportedly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the recent death of an employee in a neighboring state. Reportedly, it is suspected that the 21-year-old employee of a small business succumbed to the fumes released by the chemical he used to refinish a bathtub. If investigators confirm that methylene chloride exposure caused his death, it would be just one more fatality to add to dozens of already confirmed deaths resulting from such exposure.

Authorities say that Methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone do not always kill, but long and short-term exposure have adverse health effects on workers. These toxic chemicals are also present in products sold to the general public in hardware and other stores, and the EPA endeavors to finalize the bans. The Environmental Defense Fund agrees that immediate action is necessary to protect the public and employees of companies that use paint strippers.

Missouri victims of occupational illness — and the families of those who succumbed to the effects of toxic chemicals — are entitled to pursue claims for workers’ compensation benefits. Surviving family members can seek survivors’ benefits that typically include the expenses related to funerals and burials, and injured victims’ benefits will cover medical expenses. Both types of benefits usually also include wage replacement.

Source: blogs.edf.org, “Another tragic death — time for EPA to ban high-risk chemical paint strippers“, Lindsay McCormick, June 5, 2017