Death Of the Refinishing Industry

If you found this, it is probably because there are no more refinishing shops in your area and you took your search to the web.  The reason for this is because of over regulation by government.  Government regulations are driving the cost of refinishing higher than most people are able to afford.

Some of you might have tried those "environmentally friendly" strippers and found that they don't work.  The chemical professionals use is methylene chloride.  While MC is not the most pleasant chemical to work with, it also is not as bad as the government says.  The government is attacking our industry on two fronts --  health and environment.

According to the government, MC is a carcinogen.  Let us put this in perspective.  If something is a carcinogen it means it might cause cancer, it doesn't mean that it definitely will.  (California thinks everything causes cancer.)

Studies have shown that mice exposed to very high levels of MC developed cancer.  These levels are much higher than the levels workers are exposed to in the average shop.   Industry studies show that higher order rodents do not develop cancer.  There has never been a single case of cancer in humans that can be directly linked to exposure to MC.  To see what the industry says about MC, click here.

OSHA has set a "Permissible Exposure Limit" so low that it is impossible to achieve.  They have also banned the use of charcoal cartridge respirators, and will only allow you to use air fed respirators after doing everything you can to try to achieve their levels through "engineering changes".  To see the hoops they make us jump through, click here.

Although the government is placing these regulations on us "for the health and safety of the employee", an engineer who provided consultation services told us it is about global warming and the ozone layer.  The reasoning is that because the chemical contains Chlorine it eats a whole in the ozone layer.  To the best of our knowledge, The only ozone depleting chemicals are chloro-flouro-carbons.  MC is too heavy to reach the stratosphere where ozone depletion occurs.

This leads us to how they are attacking us on the environmental front.  New EPA rules say that within 2 years I must file a report with the state and with the EPA telling them how I am going to reduce MC evaporation.  There are already costly burdens on us for disposal of any MC waste.  As of right now we have determined that we have no MC waste.  We continue to reuse our liquid MC as much as possible and the only losses we have are through evaporation.  In my opinion this is the opening salvo of a licensing scheme.

Now comes the insanity.  There is equipment that will allow us to reclaim much of the lost MC by distilling it out of our paint chips.  Right now we can dispose of paint chips in the landfill as long as they are dry.  We allow our paint chips to air dry.  However, if we use that equipment, the very same paint chips that we can dispose of cheaply by air drying, are classified as "Hazardous Waste" and must be removed by a licensed hazardous waste hauler at much greater cost.

Also, OSHA tells us that in order to comply with their standards it is best to ventilate the vapors to the outside.  EPA wants us to not ventilate the vapors to the outside.  Government agencies have shut down businesses for ventilating MC vapors to the outside.  Click here to see how Pennsylvania brags about ruining a business.

Bureaucrats and politicians have no clue about what it takes to run a business, compete in the market, and provide a product or service at prices the market will bear.  Since they obtain their money by taking it from you by force (If you don't pay an armed officer will eventually pay you a visit.) they think that all business has to do is raise prices.

“We are outraged that the EPA would subject Pennsylvanians to enhanced cancer risks on the mistaken belief that reducing emissions is too expensive for industry,......”
- Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania. (Click here to read the whole article)

The reality of business is that if you raise your prices too high no one will buy your product or service!

The irony is, that in the name of saving the planet, they are destroying it.  Refinishing was once a cheap alternative to buying new.  This is no longer the case.  Without refinishing shops, items that were once refinished will now be burned or put in a landfill.  A painted chair takes up more landfill space than the paint chips do.  A painted door will put greenhouse gasses and may even put lead in the atmosphere if burned.  Trees will need to be cut down to replace these products.  Synthetic materials are made from oil adding to the world's consumption of oil and increasing the price of gas and home heating oil.

Contact your state and federal representatives today and tell them what is going on.  Tell them that a whole industry is about to be destroyed.  Let them know that this is a valuable service that will no longer be available unless the unelected bureaucrats are reigned in.

Click here to find a refinisher who is still in business.  (Although we don't know how much longer they can survive.)