Chemical Education Today
CLIP, Chemical Laboratory Information Profile “Only when you know the hazards, can you take the necessary precautionary measures.”
CAS No.: 75-09-2
Synonym: Methylene Chloride
A colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor. Vapor pressure at 20 °C: 361 torr Melting point: ⫺96 °C Boiling point: 40 °C
OSHA Action Level: 12.5 ppm OSHA PEL: 25.0 ppm 125.0 ppm OSHA STEL: ACGIH TLV: 50.0 ppm
Hazardous Characteristics Overall toxicity 4
Destructive to skin/eye 2
Absorbed through skin? No
Incompatible with: Group IA, IIA, and IIB metals and aluminum, strong oxidizing agents.*
0: None (or very low); 1: Slight; 2: Moderate; 3: High; 4: Severe. *Reactivity Hazards
Mixtures of dichloromethane with group IA, IIA, and IIB metals are explosive and shock sensitive. Nitrating reagents such as dinitrogen pentoxide dissolved in dichloromethane are explosively unstable. Dissolves or softens some forms of plastics, rubber, and many varnishes and other coatings. Contrary to some statements in the older literature, dichloromethane is flammable; for example, vapor–air mixtures will explode if the source of ignition is sufficiently energetic. See Bretherick’s Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards for details and for other incompatibilities. Cited as known to be or reasonably anticipated to be carcinogenic in NTP-10?
Identified as a reproductive toxin in Frazier and Hage, Reproductive Hazards of the Workplace?
Typical symptoms of acute exposures:
In the eyes, inflammation, pain. On the skin, inflammation, pain. If inhaled, headache, dizziness, slurred speech, mental confusion, coma. If ingested, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, slurred speech, mental confusion, coma. Principal target organ(s) or system(s):
Eyes, skin, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, liver.
Storage Requirements Store with other flammables in a cool, dry, well-ventilated, locked location, away from ignition sources and separated from oxidizing agents.
Additional Remarks When heated by a flame, welding arc, or hot surface, dichloromethane decomposes (in the presence of air) forming toxic phosgene and corrosive hydrogen chloride vapors. At ordinary temperatures, the vapor pressure of dichloromethane is approximately 475,000 ppm and therefore greatly exceeds the limits established by OSHA and ACGIH. Accordingly, users will be likely to be overexposed to the vapors of this compound unless appropriate precautions are rigidly maintained; see the MSDS for details. Further, if you can smell dichloromethane, its concentration in the air you are breathing exceeds the OSHA and ACGIH limits. The vapor is denser than air and can travel long distances, collecting at high concentrations in low-lying and/or poorly ventilated locations.
This Chemical Laboratory Information Profile is not a Material Safety Data Sheet. It is a brief summary for teachers and their students that describes some of the hazards of this chemical as it is typically used in laboratories. On the basis of your knowledge of these hazards and before using or handling this chemical, you need to select the precautions and first-aid procedures to be followed. For that information as well as for other useful information, refer to Material Safety Data Sheets, container labels, and references in the scientific literature that pertain to this chemical. Reproductive Toxins
Some substances that in fact are reproductive toxins are not yet recognized as such. For the best readily available and up-to-date information, refer to “DART/ETIC”. See the TOXNET home page at http://www.sis.nlm.nih.gov; click “Toxicology search”. Note that some of the data in DART/ETIC have not been peer-reviewed. See also Linda M. Frazier and Marvin L. Hage, Reproductive Hazards of the Workplace; Wiley, 1998; and T. H. Shepard, Catalog of Teratogenic Agents, 9th ed.; Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Abbreviations
ACGIH TLV—American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists–Threshold Limit Value. C—Ceiling. CAS— Chemical Abstracts Service. mg/m3—milligrams per cubic meter. NA—Not applicable. NE—Not established. NI—No information. NTP-10—National Toxicology Program, Tenth Annual Report on Carcinogens. OSHA PEL—Occupational Safety and Health Administration–Permissible Exposure Limit. ppm—parts per million. STEL/C—Short-term exposure limit and ceiling. Action Level—see Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations, part 1910, section 1052. Prepared by: Jay A. Young
Date of preparation: May 22, 2004
Vol. 81 No. 10 October 2004
Journal of Chemical Education