Dichloromethane is an organochlorine compound with the formula CH2Cl2. The chemical has a low boiling point, is slightly polar, and has a sweet odor. It is widely used as a solvent and as a degreaser.
Originally, dichloromethane was used for flavor extractions and as an aerosol spray propellant. But for decades, it has been less common. In recent years, it has been increasingly found in the atmosphere. This has caused some to question whether it is a carcinogenic.
Many countries have enacted legislation requiring product labels to advise of potential health risks. However, the degree of exposure to this chlorocarbon is not yet fully understood.
Several grades of dichloromethane are commonly available in commerce. They include Food grade, Reagent grade, ACS grade, and Technical grade.
The main uses of methylene chloride are as a solvent, degreaser, and paint stripper. There are also a number of industrial applications. For example, it is used to make synthetic foams and as a blowing agent for polylactide thin films.
When it comes to methylene chloride, purity is important. Purity depends on the amount of C2 and higher hydrocarbons in the methane. Depending on the extent of chlorination, methylene chloride may be carcinogenic or may cause brain dysfunction.
Methylene chloride has a characteristic sweet odor. Typically, it has a boiling point of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it has a high vapor pressure, it is not flammable in air.
Because of its sweet odor, it is often confused with a similar product, tetrachloromethane. Tetrachloromethane is also a chlorinated organic compound. Similarly, tetrachloromethane is derived from methane by the chlorination process.