Dichloromethane (methylene chloride) is a widely used chlorinated solvent. We review the available epidemiology studies (five cohort studies, 13 case-control studies, including seven of hematopoietic cancers), focusing on specific cancer sites. There was little indication of an increased risk of lung cancer in the cohort studies (standardized mortality ratios ranging from 0.46 to 1.21). These cohorts are relatively small, and variable effects (e.g., point estimates ranging from 0.5 to 2.0) were seen for the rarer forms of cancers such as brain cancer and specific hematopoietic cancers. Three large population-based case-control studies of incident non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Europe and the United States observed odds ratios between 1.5 and 2.2 with dichloromethane exposure (ever exposed or highest category of exposure), with higher risk seen in specific subsets of disease. More limited indications of associations with brain cancer, breast cancer, and liver and biliary cancer were also seen in this collection of studies. Existing cohort studies, given their size and uneven exposure information, are unlikely to resolve questions of cancer risks and dichloromethane exposure. More promising approaches are population-based case-control studies of incident disease, and the combination of data from such studies, with robust exposure assessments that include detailed occupational information and exposure assignment based on industry-wide surveys or direct exposure measurements
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.