Paint strippers contain chemicals that loosen paint from surfaces. These chemicals can harm you if not used properly. Proper handling and use of paint strippers will reduce your exposure to these chemicals and lessen your health risk. The article linked is a very informative description of common chemical paint strippers, their hazards, and the precautionary measures that should be taken to protect yourself prepared by the US Product Safety Commission. http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/423.html Although there is extensive safety equipment and extreme precautionary measures that can be taken to use these chemicals there are safe alternatives becoming readily available that contain little or none of the hazardous solvents and caustics mention in the above article. Hands down the safest on the market today is Home Strip. Home Strip has water based technology that instead of chemically reacting with the paint will soften the water molecules in the paint and lift from the surface being stripped. This product is safe on all surfaces and has no fume or burn hazards it also goes about three times longer than chemical strippers because it stays wet and working for much longer. For more details on Home Strip visit http://www.ecosolveamericas.com/ the tough not toxic paint stripper!