Tox Town - Chlorine

Tox Town - Chlorine

Tox Town - Chlorine

Chlorine can be a gas or a liquid. Most people are not exposed to pure chlorine.

What is chlorine?

it can be a gas or a liquid. In the form of gas, it has a greenish yellow color and a strong and irritating smell similar to that of the bleach. It can be converted into liquid at very cold temperatures for shipping. If the liquid is released, it quickly turns into gas. Chlorine gas can be released by mixing household bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products. When released into the air, chlorine reacts with water to form acids. When chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions reach the stratosphere, chlorine atoms are fragmented and released. Chlorine is very soluble in water and forms a strong acid upon dissolution. The chemical symbol for chlorine is CL and that for chlorine gas is CL2 .

Chlorine is used primarily to decolor paper or fabric or to make pesticides, chemicals, rubber and solvents. It is used to eliminate bacteria in drinking water and in pool water. It is also used in the process of sanitation of industrial waste and sewage and as a disinfectant and fungicide. Chlorine, chlorine-based cleaning products and chemicals for pool chlorination are made with perchlorate. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) contains high concentrations of chlorine.

How could you be exposed to chlorine?

You could be exposed to pure chlorine in the air, water, or land in your community if there has been a chlorine spill because of a truck accident or a railroad car carrying pure chlorine. It could also be exposed if chlorine from industrial installations has been released into the air, water or earth.

Exposure to pure chlorine occurs mainly in industrial activities where chlorine is used. You may be exposed at work if you use it to make other chemicals, bleaches or disinfectants.

What effects does chlorine have on health?

Exposure to extremely high concentrations of pure chlorine gas can cause lung collapse and death. Exposure to high concentrations may cause pulmonary edema, rapid breathing, wheezing, blue coloration of the skin (cyanosis), vomiting, anxiety, fluid accumulation in the lungs, severe burns of the eyes and skin, loss of vision and pain pulmonary.

Exposure to low concentrations of pure chlorine gas irritates the respiratory tract, eyes and skin. It may cause pain or swelling of the throat, cough, choking, sneezing, pneumonia, tightness and chest pain, headache, dizziness, tearing, blurred vision, nausea, common or bloody vomiting, severe abdominal pain, blisters and irritation of the skin, respiratory distress and pain or irritation in the stomach, nose, eyes, ears, lips or tongue

If pure liquid chlorine comes in contact with the skin it can cause burns Some people may have an inflammatory reaction to chlorine called a reactive respiratory dysfunction syndrome, which is a type of asthma.

If you think you have been exposed to pure chlorine or to chlorine gas, contact your doctor.

This description is based on information found in the virtual links cited in the English version of this topic.

Additional Links Chlorine (New Jersey Department of Health) 83 KB) Chlorine. ToxFAQs (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) Chlorine poisoning (National Library of Medicine Medical Encyclopedia) Chlorine gas safety (Texas Department of Insurance) (PDF - 206 KB) kills germs from waterborne diseases in aquatic recreation sites (RWI)? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Last updated: June 9, 2017

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