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Methylene Chloride Fact Sheet

Methylene chloride, or dichloromethane (DCM), is a chlorinated solvent commonly used as a metal degreaser, a chemical intermediate, a reaction or extraction solvent, a paint stripper, and as a component in adhesives. Consumer products that can be purchased at local automotive and hardware stores, such as aerosol parts cleaners and paint strippers, may contain methylene chloride.

Methylene chloride exposure can result in serious adverse health effects including organ toxicity, effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular effects and possibly cancer. High, short-term exposures can be lethal. Its extreme volatility makes it especially dangerous, since it is very easy to create unsafe airborne concentrations through evaporation.

Methylene chloride is designated as a Higher Hazard Substance under TURA, which lowers the reporting threshold to 1,000 lb/year, effective January 2014.

For more information, download the fact sheet here.

Resources for Exploring Alternatives to Methylene Chloride

For Paint Stripping

Source Title Year Published Description
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission What You Should Know About Using Paint Strippers 2013 This fact sheet is a useful resource for consumers regarding the hazards of over-the-counter paint stripping products and precautions that should be employed when using these products. Different paint stripping products are reviewed.
European Commission's Directorate-General Enterprise & Industry Impact Assessment of Potential Restrictions on the Marketing and Use of Dichloromethane in Paint Strippers 2007 This report assesses the impact on industry from increased regulatory restrictions on the use of methylene chloride in paint stripping applications. The assessment includes an extensive review of available alternatives, including environmental and human health hazard assessments.
California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control Priority Product Profile: Paint Strippers Containing Methylene Chloride 2014 In March 2014, the Department of Toxic Substances Control announced that paint strippers containing methylene chloride were proposed by the agency as a priority product and subject to the Safer Consumer Products regulation that requires manufacturers or other responsible entities to seek safer alternatives. This report profiles the Agency’s rationale for proposing methylene chloride- containing paint strippers as a priority product, including a review of health impacts and available alternatives.
Institute for Research & Technical Assistance Methylene Chloride Consumer Product Paint Strippers: Low-VOC, Low Toxicity Alternatives 2006 This report prepared for the California’s Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control conducts an alternatives assessment on methylene chloride containing paint-strippers and reviews the hazards, technical and economic feasibility of an array of alternatives.