What is the role of methylene chloride vapors in carbon monoxide (CO) toxicity?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018
  • Author: Guy N Shochat, MD; Chief Editor: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

CO intoxication also occurs by inhalation of methylene chloride vapors, a volatile liquid found in degreasers, solvents, and paint removers. Dermal methylene chloride exposure may not result in significant systemic effects but can cause significant dermal burns. Rarely, methylene chloride is ingested, and can result in delayed CO toxicity. The liver metabolizes as much as one third of inhaled methylene chloride to CO. A significant percentage of methylene chloride is stored in the tissues, and continued release results in elevated CO levels for at least twice as long as with direct CO inhalation.


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