&EPA	Pollution Prevention (P2) Spotlight
Reducing Dichloromethane Waste Management
Overview of Dichloromethane (DCM) / Methylene Chloride
Dichloromethane, also known as DCM and methylene chloride (CAS 75-09-2), is an
organic solvent that has many industrial uses, including use as a solvent in paint
strippers, a process solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and film coatings,
a propellant in aerosols, and a solvent for metal cleaning and finishing in electronics
Inhalation of high levels of DCM can have acute irreversible effects on the central
nervous system (CNS), including impaired visual, auditory, and psychomotor
functions (e.g., hand eye coordination) and impaired cognition/memory loss. At
higher levels DCM exposure can be fatal. Chronic exposure can affect the CNS,
causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, and memory loss as well as liver toxicity. EPA
considers DCM to be a probable human carcinogen.1
Quick Stats for 2013
	280 facilities reported
	61 of these facilities
reported 78 newly
implemented source
reduction (P2) activities
 Facilities reported a 58%
decrease in DCM releases
from 2003 to 2013
Dichloromethane Reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)
The industry that reports the most pounds of releases of DCM is the Chemical Manufacturing sector (NAICS 325),
followed by Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing (NAICS 326) and Miscellaneous Manufacturing (NAICS 339, primarily
medical device manufacturers). These three industries have each reported significant decreases in their releases of DCM
in recent years, as part of an overall trend toward chemical substitution and other P2 activities involving this chemical.
Total releases of DCM have decreased by 58% since 2003, primarily due to a reduction in releases to air, which have
fallen 61% and currently make up 92% of all DCM releases. During this time, the quantity of total production-related
waste managed (which includes quantities recycled, used for energy recovery, treated, and released) decreased by 41%,
from over 250 million pounds to 150 million pounds. The number of facilities reporting DCM also declined over this time
period. While facility closures or reduced production levels may explain why some of these facilities stopped reporting
DCM, most continued to report to TRI on other chemicals. This indicates that these facilities remain active but have
eliminated or reduced DCM usage below TRI reporting thresholds, and in many cases P2 practices have played a role.
a! 8,000,000
l/>	'	'
% 6,000,000 -
Releases of Dichloromethane
Facilities Reporting DCM: -42%
DCM Releases: -58%
400 m
300 St
200 o
2003 2004 2005 2006	2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
On-site Air Releases	On-site Surface Water Discharges
On-site Land Disposal	Off-site Disposal or Other Releases
 Number of Facilities
1 EPA's hazard summary of DCM, http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris/iris documents/documents/toxreviews/0070tr.pdf
Learn more about the TRI Program at: www.epa.gov/tri

Pollution Prevention (P2) Spotlight
Commonly Reported P2 Activities for Dichloromethane
In 2013, 61 out of 280 facilities (22%) reporting DCM to the TRI Program
also reported newly implemented source reduction (P2) activities. Commonly
reported activities include eliminating or reducing use of DCM as a cleaning
solvent and modifying equipment to prevent evaporative losses. Other
facilities have changed production schedules to minimize changeovers
reducing the need for DCM, or have implemented inspection or monitoring
programs to prevent potential leaks or spills.
Facilities have the option to give the TRI Program more details describing
their P2 efforts. Example P2 projects include:
	An organic chemical manufacturer, who previously used DCM to clean
equipment when changing from one process to another, switched to a less
hazardous cleaning solution (water and limonene).
	A pharmaceutical facility reuses solvents in distillation for cleaning
purposes rather than using virgin solvents, when its clients permit.
	A medical instrument manufacturer redesigned an etching workstation by
installing a closed container that dispenses DCM with compressed air
through a hose, reducing evaporation by up to 30%.
	An optical instrument manufacturer started using aqueous cleaning
solutions instead of DCM.
Facility Focus: Roberts Automatic Products, Inc.
Roberts Automatic Products, in Chanhassen, Minnesota, is a specialty manufacturer of precision machine parts. Roberts
uses a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, brass and copper alloys, steel and aluminum, as well as
engineering polymers such as nylon or Teflon. Roberts used DCM as a degreasing solvent to clean its manufactured parts
and reported to TRI as much as 40,000 pounds a year of DCM wastes that were released or treated by the plant.
In 2009, as part of a settlement agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Roberts Automatic designed a
supplemental environmental project (SEP) to eliminate the use of DCM at the Roberts plant. The SEP called for Roberts
to purchase and convert degreasing operations to a Serec closed-loop vacuum degreasing unit to clean machine parts.
Instead of DCM, the new unit uses non-DCM solvents (hydrocarbons) that do not trigger TRI reporting.
Dichloromethane is a
TSCA Work Plan Chemical
The EPA develops the Toxic
Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work
Plan for Chemical Assessments to
evaluate the risk associated with high-
exposure chemicals and formulate risk
management actions.
DCM (methylene chloride) was added
as a TSCA Work Plan Chemical in
2012 and a risk assessment was
completed in 2014 for DCM used in
paint stripping. Currently, EPA is
initiating a rulemaking to address the
risks identified in the risk assessment.
To learn more, visit EPA's TSCA
Roberts purchased the Serec unit
in 2011 and put it into service in
2012. DCM waste managed as
reported by the company in
2012 reduced to 13,636 pounds
from more than 44,000 pounds
the previous year. The facility is
no longer required to file TRI
reports for DCM and has
eliminated DCM as a source of
toxic waste and a hazardous air
pollutant. In addition to
eliminating the use and
employee exposure to this
chemical, the Serec vacuum
reduces energy and solvent
consumption and automates the
degreasing process while getting
the parts cleaner.
DCM Management at Roberts Automatic Products
Purchased a new closed-loop
Serec vacuum degreaser that uses
hydrocarbons instead of DCM
	; 11
_	=	s	s	
11 HI
Put Serec into
service and
DCM with

T	 	1	*	
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
 Released Treated  Energy Recovery  Recycled
Find more P2 examples using the P2 Search Tool at: www.epa.gov/tri/p2
This content is provided is for informational purposes only. The U.S. EPA does not endorse any of the companies listed above.