Methylene chloride (DCM)

Methylene chloride, also known as dichloromethane (DCM), is a partially chlorinated C1-hydrocarbon of formula CH2Cl2.

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It is a clear, non-flammable liquid with a low boiling point of 40°C and a low evaporation energy (about 9 times lower than water), offers  good chemical stability and provides excellent solubility for a large range of materials. In contrary to PER and TRI it is biodegradable in aquatic systems.

 

The main applications of methylene chloride are in closed systems in industry, e.g. for the production of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, polymers and as extraction solvent.

The European Chlorinated Solvent Association (ECSA) has developed an online toolbox to provide users of chlorinated solvents with information about the safe & sustainable use of the products. Follow the link to the ECSA Product & Application Toolbox, a Guidance on Safe & Sustainable Use of Chlorinated Solvents: ECSA Product & Application Toolbox

For more information of Methylene Chloride please refer to the respective Health Profile and Product Safety Summary Document (Publications

02/2016

IOELVs for DCM, CTC and PER published

February 2017

Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) for DCM, CTC and PER have been published by the EU Commission (cf. DIRECTIVE (EU) 2017/164 of 31.1.2017), which are in line with the REACH DNEL(inhalation) for workers. These IOELVs have to be considered by member states for setting national exposure limits (OELs), which they have to accomplish by 21. August 2018. Only national OELs are legally binding for occupational safety, whereas the IOELVs have to be considered by users in case no OELs is set, yet.  The relevant OELs are provided with the SDS of the solvents suppliers (cf. chapter 8.1). 

 

IARC monograph on DCM

January 2017

DCM has been re-classified by IARC (IARC website) from Group 2B (Possibly carcinogenic to humans) to the next higher Group 2A (Probably carcinogenic to humans). This reclassification from 2014 has been published recently (Dichloromethane). In the opinion of ECSA the reclassification is not scientifically justified. IARC Monograph classifications are also questioned by other associations such as the American Chemical Council (ACC). However the IARC classification is of no regulatory relevance in EU as European legislation is triggered by classification according to the CLP (GHS) regulation (EC 1272/2008).  

 

New Study on DCM

October 2016

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for methylene chloride (DCM). A publication is expected soon in a peer reviewed scientific journal. The outcome of the study shows that below a threshold there is no risk on cancer formation related to DCM.

 

Use of Perchloroethylene safe in Germany

October 2016

The German federal authorities (LAS) published a comprehensive guidance on the safe use of PER in dry-cleaning based on German regulations (2. BImSchV in force since 1990). ECSA supported the English translation of this guidance, which is now available on the website of the LAVG, the federal authority in charge. 

The  recent exposure study of the LAS (2015) , as referenced in the guideline, proved that the use of PER is safe, if PER is applied according to regulations such as the 2. BImSchV and exposure is very low, well below the current German OEL.