Workshop overview: Reassessment of the cancer risk of dichloromethane in humans

Thomas B. Starr, Genevieve Matanoski, M. W. Anders, Melvin E. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) classifies dichloromethane (DCM) as a "probable human carcinogen," based upon its risk assessment conducted in the late 1980s ( iris/subst/0070.htm). Since that time, cancer risk-assessment practices have evolved, leading to improved scientifically based methods for estimating risk and for illuminating as well as reducing residual uncertainties. A new physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model has been developed, using data from human volunteers exposed to low DCM levels, that provides new information on the human to human variability in DCM metabolism and elimination (L. M. Sweeney et al., 2004, Toxicol. Lett. 154, 201-216). This information, along with data from other published human studies, has been used to develop a new cancer risk estimation model utilizing probabilistic methodology similar to that employed recently by U.S. EPA for other chemicals (ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute, 2005, Development of population cancer risk estimates for environmental exposure to dichloromethane using a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model. Final Report to Eastman Kodak Company). This article summarizes the deliberations of a scientific peer-review panel convened on 3 and 4 May 2005 at the CIIT Centers for Health Research in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, to review the "state of the science" for DCM and to critically evaluate the new information for its utility in assessing potential human cancer risks from DCM exposure. The panel (Melvin E Andersen, CIIT Centers for Health Research, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; A. John Bailer, Miami University, Scripps Gerontology Center, Oxford, OH 45056; Kenneth S. Crump, ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute, Ruston, LA 71270; Clifford R. Elcombe, University of Dundee, Biomedical Research Centre, Dundee DD1 9SY, United Kingdom; Linda S. Erdreich, Exponent, 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1740, New York, NY 10170; Jeffery W. Fisher, University of Georgia, Department of Environmental Health Science, Athens, GA 30602; David Gaylor, Gaylor and Associates, LLC, Eureka Springs, AR 72631; F Peter Guengerich, Vanderbilt University, Department of Biochemistry, Nashville, TN 37232; Kenneth Mundt, ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute, Amherst, MA 01004; Lorenz R Rhomberg, Gradient Corporation, Cambridge, MA 021138; Charles Timchalk, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352), chaired by M.E.A., was composed of experts in xenobiotic metabolism and carcinogenic mechanisms, PBPK modeling, epidemiology, biostatistics, and quantitative risk assessment. Observers included representatives from U.S. EPA, CIIT, and Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak), as well as several consultants to Kodak. The workshop was organized and sponsored by Kodak, which employs DCM as a solvent in the production of imaging materials. Overall, the panel concluded that the new models for DCM risk assessment were scientifically and technically sound and represented an advance over those employed in past assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Cancer
  • Dichloromethane
  • Epidemiology
  • PBPK
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Workshop overview: Reassessment of the cancer risk of dichloromethane in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this