Using Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride (CAS # 75-09-2) is a colorless liquid with a mild, sweet (“chloroform-like”) odor that can be detected as low as 0.9 ppm (odor threshold). It is often used as an industrial solvent, for metal cleaning and degreasing and in various paint strippers. It may also be found in some aerosol and pesticide products and is used in the manufacture of photographic films.


Synonyms include:

Methane dichloride; Methylene bichloride; Methylene dichloride; Dichloromethane; DCM; MeCl & MeCl2.


Useful Methylene Chloride Links:

NOTE: Additional EOHS documents and forms are now located in the Penguin Portal. See Faculty/Staff page for channel labeled "EOHS - SAFETY."

Penguin Portal


Potential Hazards

Methylene chloride exposure can cause adverse health effects to the central nervous system (CNS), liver, and cardiovascular system including mental confusion, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and headache. It is metabolized by the body to carbon monoxide, and therefore reduces the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. It is also a suspected carcinogen.

Exposure may also cause eye and respiratory tract irritation. Skin exposure to liquid may cause irritation and skin burns after extended exposures.

Consult the SDS for methylene chloride, using the Chemwatch link on the Chemical Management webpage.


Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs):

25 ppm, 8-hour PEL

125 ppm, 15-minute STEL


Engineering Controls

Work with open containers of methylene chloride should be conducted only in a fume hood. Dilute solutions, small quantities, and closed containers of methylene chloride may be handled on the bench top.