In January 2016 dichloromethane (DCM) was included in the so-called Restriction List (Annex XVII) of the REACH Regulation under Entry no. 59. DCM was therefore not allowed anymore in the EU for use in paint strippers. The use of DCM in industrial parts cleaning is not affected by this restriction and therefore still allowed.    

In July 2021 Italy published its Substance Evaluation Report for DCM and concluded that a revised harmonized classification for DCM is needed. Currently, DCM is classified as cancerogen category 2, meaning suspected of causing cancer. With its current classification DCM does not meet the criteria for Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC).

Italy proposed a re-classification to cancerogen cat 1B, meaning may cause cancer, and mutagen category 2, meaning suspected of causing mutagenic effects. If the classification with cancerogen 1B is accepted, DCM will meet the criteria as SVHC.

A public consultation for comments on the proposed classification was open until November 2023. Currently, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) is reviewing the received comments.

If the new classification will be accepted, DCM would eventually become an SVHC and will sooner or later be identified as substance which needs an authorisation (Substance on Annex XIV of REACH). In that case, the use of DCM will only be possible, if the user of the substance has a granted authorisation.

SAFECHEM will closely monitor the process and will inform as soon as new information is available.

Brief profile DCM: Brief Profile - ECHA (europa.eu)


Currently all kind of brominated and chlorinated solvents are governed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This includes the use of  dichloromethane (DCM), perchloroethylene (PERC), trichloroethylene (TRIC) and 1-bromopropane (nPB) but also trans-dichloroethylene (t-DCE).

On April 30, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a ban of most uses of DCM, also known as Methylene Chloride, including the use in industrial parts cleaning application. The final rule was published on May 8th, 2024 in the Federal Register and is effective as of July 8th, 2024.

Only some highly industrialized uses will still be allowed under a so-called Workplace Chemical Protection Program (WCPP) with strict exposure limits, monitoring requirements, worker training and notification requirements. These uses are regarded as important for the national security and the economy. These uses include:

1.    Use in the production of other chemicals, including refrigerant chemicals that are important in efforts to phase down climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons under the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing Act.
2.    Production of battery separators for electric vehicles.
3.    Use as a processing aid in a closed system.
4.    Use as a laboratory chemical.
5.    Use in plastic and rubber manufacturing, including polycarbonate production.
6.    Use in solvent welding.

Additionally, specific uses of DCM required by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Aviation Administration will also continue under a time-limited exemption of 10-years with strict workplace controls because sufficient reductions in exposure are possible in these highly sophisticated environments, minimizing risks to workers. 
For uses of DCM continuing under the WCPP, most workplaces will have 18 months after the finalization of the risk management rule to comply with the program and would be required to periodically monitor their workplace to ensure that workers are not being exposed to levels of DCM that would lead to an unreasonable risk. 

The prohibition for the manufacture, processing and distribution of DCM for most industrial uses, including the use in industrial parts cleaning, will be effective within 2 years, meaning as of July 8th, 2026.  

For more information, please visit: 

Publication in Federal Register: 2024-09606.pdf (govinfo.gov)
Risk Management for Methylene Chloride: Risk Management for Methylene Chloride | US EPA


China has filed a notice in relation to the so-called Blue Sky Plan in 2019, which aims to improve air quality in several big cities in China. This notice was the starting point for several legislative actions regulating and restricting air quality-affecting topics.

Under this plan a new Chinese standard was published in 2020 which regulates volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning agents (GB 38508-2020). The regulation was released as a national standard in March 2020, followed by implementation on December 1st 2020.

The standard provides limit requirements for VOC, test methods and package marks of cleaning agents. This standard is applicable to cleaning agents containing VOC produced and used in industrial production and service activities. This standard is NOT applicable to cleaning agents used in aerospace, nuclear industry, military industry and semiconductor (including integrated circuit) manufacturing. These areas of industrial production are exempted.

Dichloromethane (DCM) is listed in this standard and therefore falls under this restriction. According to the standard, cleaning agents with a content of ≥ 20% of DCM may for example not be used in industrial production and service activities. Cleaning agents with a VOC content of ≥ 900 g/L may not be used in industrial production and service activities. The standard also defines the limit of VOC content in a cleaning product and therefore alternative formulations are needed in order to meet the requirement.

DCM supplied by SAFECHEM in China can only be used in the industries exempted from the standard, which include aerospace, nuclear industry, military industry and semiconductor (including integrated circuit) manufacturing.




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