EXPOSURE TO DICHLOROMETHANE IN PREGNANCY

View printable version
(Date of issue: July 2017, Version: 3)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Summary

In 2010 the European Union banned the use of this product in domestic paint removers.  This document will therefore not be updated. If up-to-date information is required please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909.

Dichloromethane (methylene chloride) is a halogenated organic solvent that has a wide range of uses, including in the decaffeination of coffee, preparation of food extracts, and as an ingredient in paint removers (paint strippers), degreasers and aerosol propellants. Dichloromethane is metabolised to carbon monoxide. As exposure to carbon monoxide has been associated with fetal demise and neurodevelopmental problems in live-born offspring, there are theoretical concerns following exposure to dichloromethane during pregnancy.

There are insufficient data available on which to base an assessment of risk following exposure to dichloromethane during pregnancy. Animal studies have not suggested an increased risk of fetal toxicity or congenital malformations in the absence of maternal toxicity. As with all chemicals, unnecessary exposure to dichloromethane should be avoided. However, where occupational exposure is unavoidable, precautions should be taken to ensure that exposure is well within the recommended exposure limits and not associated with toxic symptoms.

Following acute dichloromethane exposure in a pregnant patient, maternal toxicity is likely to be a major determinant of fetal risk. However, due to a lack of data concerning the teratogenicity of dichloromethane, it is not currently possible to state that an absence of maternal toxicity excludes the possibility of adverse events occurring in the developing fetus. Other risk factors may also be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments. Discussion with UKTIS is recommended in all cases.

This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on UKTIS.org.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.