Final Revision to the RiskDetermination for Methylene ChlorideReleased By EPA

A final revised risk determination for methylene chloride was recently issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This revision reflects changes made relative to the initial risk evaluation released for the chemical in June 2020. In this blog post, we review methylene chloride and consider key aspects of the revision.

Methylene Chloride

Otherwise known as dichloromethane, methylene chloride is a colorless, volatile, organic hydrocarbon liquid. A strong solvent used in many industries, its diverse array of applications includes adhesive production, ink manufacturing, metal cleaning, paint removal, pharmaceutical development, and others.

Methylene Chloride

Preferred IUPAC NameDichloromethane
Chemical FormulaCH2Cl2
CAS Registry Number75-09-2

Exposure to methylene chloride can occur via a number of routes (e.g., eye exposure, inhalation exposure, skin exposure), and a wide range of corresponding health risks exists (hepatic, neurologic, and more). Methylene chloride has been classified as a probable human carcinogen, as chronic exposure has been linked to different types of cancer.

In late 2016, methylene chloride was selected as one of the first ten chemicals to undergo evaluation for potential risks to human health and the environment under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

Revised Risk Determination for Methylene Chloride

In its final revised risk determination, the EPA utilized a whole chemical risk determination approach for methylene chloride. The Agency concluded that there are unreasonable risks of harm to human health when the chemical is evaluated under its conditions of use as a whole.

With this revision, there is not an assumption that personal protective equipment (PPE) is always worn (and worn appropriately) by workers. Of the 53 conditions of use identified for methylene chloride, one (Distribution in commerce) did not underlie the EPA’s determination of unreasonable risk. However, the remaining 52 conditions of use were associated with the Agency’s unreasonable risk determination. These include:

  • Consumer Use: Adhesive and Caulk Removers
  • Consumer Use: Adhesives and Sealants
  • Consumer Use: Anti-spatter Welding Aerosol
  • Consumer Use: Arts, Crafts, and Hobby Materials Glue
  • Consumer Use: Automotive Care Products (Degreasers)
  • Consumer Use: Automotive Care Products (Functional Fluids for Air Conditioners)
  • Consumer Use: Brush Cleaners for Paints and Coatings
  • Consumer Use: Carbon Removers and Other Brush Cleaners
  • Consumer Use: Cold Pipe Insulation
  • Consumer Use: Lubricants and Greases
  • Consumer Use: Metal Degreasers
  • Consumer Use: Solvent in Aerosol Degreasers and Cleaners
  • Disposal
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Adhesive and Caulk Removers
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Adhesives, Sealants and Caulks
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Aerosol Degreasers and Cleaners
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Anti-spatter Welding Aerosol
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Apparel and Footwear Care Products
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Automotive Care Products (Degreasers)
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Automotive Care Products (Functional Fluids for Air Conditioners)
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Automotive Care Products (Interior Car Care)
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Carbon Remover, Wood Floor Cleaner, and Brush Cleaner
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Cellulose Triacetate Film Production
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Cold Pipe Insulations
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Finishing Products for Fabric, Textiles and Leather
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Laboratory Chemical
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Liquid Lubricants and Greases
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Lithographic Printing Plate Cleaner
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Metal Aerosol Degreasers
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Metal Non-aerosol Degreasers
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Non-aerosol Degreasers and Cleaners
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Oil and Gas Drilling, Extraction, and Support Activities
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Paint and Coatings Removers
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Paints and Coatings
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Plastic and Rubber Products Manufacturing
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Processing Aid
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Propellant and Blowing Agent
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent for Aerosol Spray Degreaser/Cleaner
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent for Batch Vapor Degreasing
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent for Cold Cleaning
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent for In-line Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent Vapor Degreasing
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Solvent in Formulation or Mixture
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Spot Removers for Apparel and Textiles
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Spray Lubricants and Greases
  • Industrial/Commercial Use: Toys, Playground and Sporting Equipment
  • Manufacturing: Domestic Manufacture
  • Manufacturing: Import
  • Processing: Incorporation into Formulation, Mixture, or Reaction Products
  • Processing: Reactant
  • Processing: Recycling
  • Processing: Repackaging

The final revised risk determination for methylene chloride supersedes determinations conducted previously, relative to individual conditions of use for the chemical.

Additional detailed information regarding the final revised risk determination may be found on the EPA’s website.

Information on Methylene Chloride and Much More

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