19 May 2023 Bulletin

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Dichloromethane is predominantly used as a solvent in paint strippers and removers; as a process solvent in the manufacture of drugs, pharmaceuticals, and film coatings; as a metal cleaning and finishing solvent in electronics manufacturing; and as an agent in urethane foam blowing. In addition, it is used as a propellant in aerosols for products such as paints, automotive products, and insect sprays. Dichloromethane is used as an extraction solvent for spice oleoresins, hops, and for the removal of caffeine from coffee. However, due to concern over residual solvent, most decaffeinators no longer use it. Dichloromethane is also approved for use as a post-harvest fumigant for grains and strawberries and as a degreening agent for citrus fruit. Dichloromethane’s low boiling point allows the chemical to function as a heat engine that can extract movement from low-grade temperatures. It can also be used to weld certain plastics. Often sold as a main component of plastic welding adhesives, it is also used extensively by model building hobbyists for joining plastic components together — it is commonly referred to as “Di-clo.” Dichloromethane is also used in the garment printing industry for removal of heat-sealed garment transfers, and its volatility is exploited in novelty items — bubble lights and jukebox displays. Furthermore, it is used in the material testing field of civil engineering; specifically it is used during the testing of bituminous materials as a solvent to separate the binder from the aggregate of an asphalt or macadam to allow the testing of the materials.

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