CASE STUDY: Request For Safer Paint Strippers And Removers
The past year, various consumer advocate groups, including Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), have raised serious concerns about the health risks of Methylene Chloride and N-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in paint strippers and removers. They have called for a ban of products with Methylene Chloride.
In response to these allegations and recent reported deaths of consumers who used paint strippers containing Methylene Chloride and NMP, major retailers and Sherwin Williams have elected to ban them from their shelves.
Though dangerous and deadly, there are individuals who have continued to purchase and use paint strippers with Methylene Chloride and NMP. However, many contractors and consumers don’t see the benefits of harsh chemicals and have found safe and effective alternatives.
According to Andrew Bryl, director of Pacific Beach Town Council in San Diego, California, “We always consider the safety needs and the success of the graffiti removers we give to our volunteers and clean up crews who help keep the community free of unwanted tags.”
Bryl said that Motsenbocker’s Lift Off paint strippers and removers have been their first choice for years, “It’s safe for the volunteers to use and doesn’t hurt the various surfaces tagged with graffiti.”
Stop signs, utility boxes, dumpsters and other surfaces are commonly tagged in this beach community that is highly frequented by tourists. Bryl assists the local businesses by initiating graffiti clean up events so that the surroundings are attractive to residents and guests of Pacific Beach.
Bryl said they keep on hand the following products for this purpose: Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Spray Paint and Graffiti Remover; Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Pen, Ink & Marker Remover; and Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Tape, Label and Adhesive Remover.
“When we were first introduced to these products, many years ago, we received training on proper clean up techniques. We found these products to be easy to use and very effective at removing graffiti, including spray paint, markers and stickers.”
As contractors are frequently told that harsh chemicals are more effective and work faster than environmentally safe (green) strippers and removers, Mark Giarrante of Giant Maintenance and Restoration, Inc. of Mundelein, Illinois, knows from experience which products have earned his trust and respect.
“It’s extremely important to me that I know the formulations and the best applications for paint strippers and removers,” offered Giarrante, who added, “Having been in the business for over 30 years, you get to know what products you can trust.”
He trusts Motsenbocker’s Lift Off products, including Lift Off Spray Paint and Graffiti Remover, Lift Off Latex Based Paint Remover and Lift Off Paint and Varnish Remover, and has a long list of success stories to share with his customers who prefer safer alternatives.
“We work on some very high end projects (homes, buildings and property) and have customers who want to be assured that whatever we’re using to restore their property will not be harmful indoors and outdoors (plant life and water systems). “
He says he can assure his customers that his work is “worry free” by using a solid-line of strippers and removers that are water-based and environmentally safe.
“I shock my customers who see me using my gloveless hands to distribute Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Paint and Varnish Remover on to brick or pavers that are covered with aged sealants that we’re stripping.
“I tell them not to worry because these products are free of harsh chemicals that could harm me or their expensive landscaping.
“When they see the end result, a clean surface with minimal prepping, they are amazed.”
Giarrante says he has gotten used to seeing shocked customers who originally doubt that a safe formulation can do the job so impressively.
“One of my customers had upward of seven layers of sealant on her patio. She couldn’t believe that after one application of Lift Off Paint and Varnish Remover we eliminated up to 90 percent of the sealant. We applied another light coat to clean all the nooks and crannies. It took only two coats and minimal time to do the job.”
According to Giarrante, time is money. As a business owner he maintains a tight operation, in terms of labor and materials. However, he doesn’t skimp on the products he uses.
“I may pay a little more for Lift Off products. Yet, they exceed my expectations in terms of coverage,” He added, “I end up spending less because it is so effective in doing the job.”
Fair pricing, limited prep work and safety are some of the benefits that Mark Giarrante sees in Motsenbocker’s Lift Off strippers and removers.
Having been on contract with the Lake County Department of Transportation for over 22 years, he has earned the respect of his customer for quickly and safely removing graffiti on all types of surfaces.
“They trust me to know what works best and doesn’t negatively affect the water ways, landscaping and surfaces we work on.”
He added, “I’ve been using Lift Off products for years and always have quick and successful results.”
Giarrante says he is currently working on a series of stain, paint, polyurethane and sealant removal projects for a large, private university that prefers he uses safer chemicals. He’s already been able to finish some of these projects with immediate success in record time.
“We have been using Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Paint and Varnish Removal on an interior project, removing polyurethane and varnish from a lot of benches after one application. And, we did the same with an exterior job, to remove old, warped sealant.”
He added, “The university staff was so pleased with the results that they are having us do even more projects. I couldn’t be happier.”
As contractors, municipalities and homeowners become more aware and concerned about protecting themselves and the environment from harmful products, there are programs in place to monitor what is safe from a chemical perspective. Two of the organizations that have initiated comprehensive evaluations are the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Both provide a list of recommended products that meet their rigid evaluation guidelines and procedures. Motsenbocker’s Lift Off products are listed on both sites.
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