Uses and Environmental Effects of Dichloromethane

Uses of Dichloromethane

Dichloromethane is a geminal organic compound, has sweet aroma, and it is volatile and colorless liquid. It is miscible in many organic solvents due to its polar nature. It is a useful solvent for the chemical processes, due to its ability to dissolve the many organic compounds. It is widely used as a degreaser and as a paint stripper. It is used to decaffeinate the tea and coffee in the food industry and also used for the preparations of the extracts of the hops and other flavorings.

Due to its volatile nature, it is used as aerosol spray propellent and is also used for polyurethane foams as a blowing agent. The boiling point of dichloromethane is low due to which it is ideally used for functioning in the heat engine for extracting the mechanical energy from even the small temperature differences. Drinking bird is an example of a DCM heat engine and it works at room temperature. It is also used to chemically weld the certain plastics and is also used for sealing the casings of the electric meters. Dichloromethane is widely used in the industry of garment printing to remove heat-sealed garment transfers. It is also used for testing the materials in civil engineering.


Environmental Effects of Dichloromethane

At sufficiently high concentrations it can harm the wildlife. In the air, it can be carried to long distances and remote locations. It reacts with the other air pollutants but it is not regarded as ozone deplete according to the US clean air act. The lifetime of dichloromethane in the atmosphere is very short and it is decomposed before reaching the ozone layer, so even though it is produced at the elevated levels by the industrial emission, its presence in the atmosphere is not too much problematic. However, it decomposes the ozone in the lower atmosphere.

As dichloromethane is highly volatile, so it is an acute inhalation hazard and it can be easily absorbed by the skin as well. It is highly reactive and its compounds are carcinogenic and highly toxic. Even slight exposure to this compound can lead to vision and hearing impairment. In case if there is direct contact of the skin with this compound it gave the feeling of skin burn and causes redness. Exposure to high doses causes nausea, dizziness, and tingling. However, for the aquatic organisms, its acute toxicity is low. It does not bio-accumulate.


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