The Journal of emergency medicine

Methylene chloride poisoning: a paradigmatic review.

PMID 3049777


The incidence of reported cases of toxicity resulting from methylene chloride exposure has increased within the last decade. A vast majority of these reports involve acute episodes, and the prevalence of domestic poisoning is relatively high. Diverse pathologic sequelae attributed to methylene chloride or its metabolites have been reported, although a distinct bias for central nervous system effects is evident. paradoxically, detoxification of methylene chloride via the mixed-function oxidase pathway is an inherently intoxicating event. Although the anomalous conversion of methylene chloride into carbon monoxide has increased the popular awareness of methylene chloride poisoning among medical personnel, lack of experience in diagnosis and treatment of methylene chloride poisoning is widespread. This review of 26 cases spanning 50 years reveals that the industrial and domestic use of methylene chloride is equally widespread. A compendium of the clinical experience with methylene chloride poisoning is presented.