I was dismayed to read the EPA’s decision on methylene chloride (March 16). Due to pressure from environmental groups and families of people who have died from using paint strippers containing methylene chloride, the EPA has banned its use by homeowners.

There are few alternatives to removing old paint/varnish:

• Scraping it off;

• Sanding it off, often using a power sander;

• Burn it off using a torch or heat gun;

• Use a stripper with methylene chloride such as 5F5.

By far the best, and safest, in my opinion, is to use methylene chloride strippers.

Lead paint needs to be removed to protect children from possible lead poisoning. Some finishes need to be removed to enhance the beauty of the article.

How many people will now be harmed when the paint on woodwork, chairs, doors, etc. is removed mechanically?

Scraping doesn’t do a good job and the object will still need to be sanded. Power sanding sends toxic dust far from the source.

Burning off paint may lead to fires, toxic fumes, damaged wood and lead poisoning.

How many homeowners will wear the proper dust and/or toxic gas respirator? Will nearby people also wear respirators? Did the EPA not consider how toxic dusts are?

If the work area is properly ventilated, methylene chloride doesn’t kill anyone. But those people who don’t wear the proper dust respirator could damage their lungs or suffer from lead poisoning.

Too many bureaucrats have no practical experience.

James McDaniel, Farmington

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