Years ago, the main way to remove paint was by using a fast-working chemical stripper called methylene chloride, which gave off harsh fumes and had a high VOC (volatile organic compounds) content. This compound could only be used in a properly-ventilated area because of its toxicity. In fact, the active ingredients in most common paint removers are organic solvents which may damage the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, nervous system, and internal organs. Also, liquid paint and varnish removers are among the most toxic products used in homes!
Luckily, times have changed and now we have several options for more safely removing old paint from wood surfaces. Chemical strippers using safer ingredients have been on the market for more than 15 years. Thanks to growing interest in “green building,” environmentally-friendly paint removal products are more popular than ever. Many of them are non-caustic gels, and some are even made from soybean or citrus. While liquid strippers eliminate dust, they still leave messy gel and water with paint waste in it. These are hard to contain and often contaminate surrounding areas.
Dry scraping, sanding, and even shaving loose paint are common, modern methods of paint removal, especially on building exteriors. These methods work faster than liquid paint removers, but huge amounts of paint dust and chips fly out beyond the work area and into the environment.
And then there are open torches and high heat guns. They soften the paint, make less dust, and don’t have chemicals to burn you, but they operate at 1000 degrees F, which can release toxic, lead fumes. Plus the extremely high blowing heat greatly increases the risk of fire on the surface or behind it. That’s why we recommend the Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Removal Systems, including our newest product, the Cobra. Speedheaters’ unique infrared rays bubble paint and varnish in as little as two seconds, yet don’t heat coatings high enough to create lead fumes.
Some of the environmentally-friendly benefits of using Speedheater™ Standard and Cobra are:
- No environmentally hazardous chemicals
- No contaminated waste water or gels soaking into the ground.
- 75% less energy consumption than a heat gun.
- No flying dust and chips.
- No lead gas released.
- Mildew, fungus, and algae in wood and on concrete are killed without chemicals.
The safest way to remove lead paint is with Speedheater™ Infrared Paint Removal Systems.