Methylene chloride: a two-year inhalation toxicity and oncogenicity study in rats and hamsters

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1984 Feb;4(1):30-47. doi: 10.1016/0272-0590(84)90217-3.


A long-term study was conducted to determine the possible chronic toxicity and oncogenicity of methylene chloride. Rats and hamsters were exposed by inhalation to 0, 500, 1500, or 3500 ppm of methylene chloride for 6 hr per day, 5 days a week, for 2 years. No exposure-related cytogenetic effects were present in male or female rats exposed to 500, 1500, or 3500 ppm. Females rats exposed to 3500 ppm had an increased mortality rate while female hamsters exposed to 1500 or 3500 ppm had decreased mortality rates. Carboxyhemoglobin values were elevated in rats and hamsters exposed to 500, 1500, or 3500 ppm with the percentage increase in hamsters greater than in rats. Minimal histopathologic effects were present in the livers of rats exposed to 500, 1500, or 3500 ppm. Decreased amyloidosis was observed in the liver and other organs in hamsters exposed to 500, 1500 or 3500 ppm. While the number of female rats with a benign tumor was not increased, the total number of benign mammary tumors was increased in female rats in an exposure-related manner. This effect was also evident in male rats in the 1500- and 3500-ppm exposure groups. Finally, male rats exposed to 1500 or 3500 ppm had an increased number of sarcomas in the ventral neck region located in or around the salivary glands. Therefore, in this 2-year study, some effects were observed in male and female rats exposed to 500, 1500, or 3500 ppm of methylene chloride. In contrast, hamsters exposed to the same exposure concentrations had less extensive spontaneous geriatric changes, decreased mortality (females), and lacked evidence of definite target organ toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenofibroma / chemically induced
  • Amyloid / analysis
  • Animals
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / analysis
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mesocricetus
  • Methylene Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Methylene Chloride / toxicity*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Respiration
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Time Factors


  • Amyloid
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Carboxyhemoglobin