Back in the old days, the paints woodworkers use contain lead which is dangerous. These days, the paints and paint strippers we use are much more safer.
One of the most important things to remember is always read the instructions on any of the products. Don?t assume because you have used one manufacturers product that they are all the same. Also always use good ventilation as most often the fumes can be very harmful.
As we said, misuse of these products can be very detrimental to ones health. The most common ingredient is Methylene Chloride and is most often found in paint and varnish strippers. It is toxic and may be a carcinogen. It should not be used by people with heart problems because it makes the heart work hard. It forms carbon monoxide in the blood through metabolism. Products containing this ingredient should not be used by people with heart ailments. It comes in various strengths and may be a liquid or a paste.
Acetone, Toluene and Methanol or ATM are usually found in Lacquer thinner. As a combination, they are very aggressive. These types of strippers work well on old paints and finishes. Although they are in a sense safer to use, as they don?t have the health concern that MC has caution is still important. They are a source of air pollution and they are flammable. If the particular brand you are using contains alkali then it will stain some hardwoods.
N-Methyl Pyrrolidone works slower and not as effective on epoxy, polyester or baked coatings. Di-basic esters are the least effective of them all that we have mentioned so far.
NMP/DBE Combo strippers are now becoming popular as the DBE reduces the cost compared to the NMP.
NMP and DBE for finish removal. NMP/DBE combination strippers are generally less toxic although some manufacturers will add solvents such as xylene, which makes them toxic, air polluting, and flammable.
Lye is Sodium Hydroxide works well but is dangerous to work with.
Ammonia Hydroxide is used to fortify and strength the solvents.
There are new products coming out on the market all the time. The best solution is to ask the supplier where you are purchasing your products, which is the best to use for the particular task you are facing. Once he has made his recommendations read the label before buying. Now that you have an understanding of some of the ingredients, you will understand the safety issues that are involved. If there are, ingredients that we have not mentioned here then take the time to list them and review them before purchasing the product. Although these are wonderful products, your health and safety are the major concern. They have been allowed on the open market provided they are labeled with explicit instructions as to their use. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to follow all instructions to ensure your safety. If you are not sure about an ingredient then research it well. There should be ample information on the internet concerning it.