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Improving Air Quality in Your Community

Outdoor Air - Industry, Business, and Home: Paint and Coating Stripping Operations - Additional Information

This information will help you gain a better understanding of paint and coating stripping operations. The topics below address the following questions:

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What are paint and coating stripping operations?

Paint and coating stripping operations strip paints and coatings from surfaces of metal and wood furniture and other parts. Paint and coating removal may be needed either as part of the manufacturing process or to allow for maintenance or repair operations.

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What kinds of air pollutants may come from paint and coating stripping operations?

Paint and coating stripping operations emit pollutants such as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), particle pollution (dust), and volatile organic compounds (VOC). These pollutants can contribute to health problems that may affect shop employees, their families, customers, and the community. While Federal, state, local, and Tribal regulations limit the amount of emissions from paint and coating stripping operations, dangerous releases of HAPs can occur if a paint and coating stripping operation does not operate in compliance with regulations.

  • Solvents in chemical paint strippers can release VOC and some HAPs. Chemicals in these substances can also react in the air to form ground-level ozone (smog), which has been linked to a number of respiratory effects. EPA has developed an extensive Web site on ground-level ozone.
  • Methylene chloride is found in many chemical paint strippers. EPA's Health Effects Notebook has more information on the health effects of exposure to methylene chloride.
  • Particle pollution (dust) is generated during abrasive paint removal or mechanical paint stripping. Breathing dust can cause respiratory problems and other harmful health effects. EPA has created a Web site related to particle pollution.
  • Lead, chromium, and cadmium are metals that may be generated as particle pollution. EPA's Health Effects Notebook has information on these and other metals.

For more information on the toxicity of these pollutants, check out information on the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). EPA also has more information available at its Air Toxics Web site.

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How can I help paint and coating stripping operations reduce air pollution?

  • Make Connections
    • Get to know local paint and coating stripping operation owners and operators. They know best about the materials and processes used in their business and the regulations with which they must comply.
    • Keep local media aware of progress by sending them updates. Publicity can reward success and attract more public involvement.
  • Make a Plan
    • One idea is to form a work group that includes both community leaders and paint and coating stripping operation owners and operators to develop and implement workable pollution reduction plans.
  • Locate Resources
    • Use the Web sites on this page to find governmental or nonprofit contacts who can provide help with analysis, technical information, equipment, and funding.
    • EPA has collected information on community, state, and regional contacts.
  • Sponsor training
    • Train workers in new skills or new technology that reduces hazardous material usage and generation and results in reduced exposure for workers.
    • Small operations may need funding in order to attend or provide training.
  • Reward Shops
    • Use media connections to provide coverage for successful efforts. Positive publicity can mean increased business.
    • Present pollution prevention certificates to shops that reduce pollution.
  • Be an Informed Consumer
    • Patronize operations that implement pollution prevention strategies.
    • Find out about how items will be stripped before refinishing.

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What other Web sites related to pollution reduction in the paint and coating stripping operations sector are available?

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