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A mother fights to get harmful chemicals off store shelves after son’s death

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A mother’s fight continues, after her son was overcome by fumes from a potent paint remover.

WISH-TV’s sister station WKRN first spoke with Wendy Hartley, after her son collapsed at work and later died due to using dangerous chemicals while stripping a bathtub.

Wendy has since learned much more about the chemical, Methylene Chloride, and hopes to warn consumers.

As paint removers go, it’s one of the strongest. Mixed among the shelves at your local home improvement store is Methylene Chloride.

The chemical has a deadly history.

“Why is this deadly chemical on the shelves for consumers to use?” Hartley asked. “It shouldn’t be there.”

Wendy is now all too familiar with Methylene Chloride, after her son collapsed at work while working on a bathtub.

“When I received the medical records, Kevin’s records, there was a reference in there to Methylene Chloride,” she said. “After that, I just started kind of doing my research, to figure out exactly what this chemical is.”

What she found was troubling, article after article of the chemical’s dangers.

A report by Bloomberg, cites at least 17 workers deaths since 2000.

“Kevin being one of those,” added Hartley. “It’s there, its’ available, it’s on the shelf for consumers to buy. And if it’s on the shelf, to me I feel like it should be safe.”

Wendy has since been on a crusade, from here to our nation’s capital, trying to sound the alarm.

“Talked to members of the Senate,” said Hartley. “Letting them know this chemical is out there, and it should be banned.”

Methylene Chloride has been in the news this year.

There’s currently a proposal by the EPA, to ‘prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution’ of the chemical in commerce.

The proposal is music to the ears of a mother in mourning, who’s hopeful her 21-year-old organ donor son can leave a lasting legacy.

“If it saves one more life, then that’s another life that Kevin has helped,” said Hartley.

Wendy said she doesn’t want the chemical totally banned. She instead wants it to be heavily regulated, and only available for commercial use.

Some chemical manufactures have fired back at the EPA’s proposal, saying they should instead require more warnings, and better use of protective equipment.