Elimination

The primary route of elimination of methylene chloride is via the lungs. A small amount of unchanged methylene chloride is eliminated in the urine and faeces. At low doses, a large percentage of methylene chloride is metabolised and eliminated as carbon monoxide, whereas at high doses more of the unchanged parent compound is exhaled (ATSDR, 1993a,b). In human volunteer experiments, 25-34% of the methylene chloride absorbed was excreted as carbon monoxide (DiVincenzo and Kaplan, 1981b). Of the methylene chloride absorbed, 25% to 90% is eliminated within 2 hours after exposure, and by 16 hours after exposure none is detected in the blood (ATSDR, 1993a,b). The half-life of excretion of carbon monoxide produced by the metabolism of methylene chloride is approximately 13 hours. This is about 2.5 times the half-life of excretion of inhaled carbon monoxide in a subject breathing air (Baselt, 2000).

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