Chlorine is one of the most heavily manufactured chemical compounds globally. It is a chemical element and has the symbol CI in the periodic table.
Chlorine is produced from ordinary salt. A process called electrolysis is used to manufacture chlorine from sodium chloride solution.
Even though chlorine is very widely used in the manufacturing process of many products that we use, it still remains quite an elusive chemical compound.
In this article, we aim to shed more light on the use of chlorine and how it has helped with the advancement of mankind.
Disinfectants And Cleaning Products
It is hard to imagine trying to keep our homes clean without disinfectants and cleaning products.
Chlorine is used to make bleach which is present in many of the cleaning products that we use at home.
Bleach does a great job of killing germs found on surfaces that can make us sick. This is helpful as we enter flu season.
Chlorine is also used in the manufacturing process of many common medications that we depend on.
These medications help people with allergies, cholesterol issues and joint pains.
Besides medication, chlorine is used to make medical products like blood bags and stitches.
Chlorine plays an important function when it comes to collecting solar energy. Chlorine is used to cleanse and purify silicon which is then used in the production of solar panel chips.
Those giant blades that you see on wind turbines that help to convert wind into energy also use chlorine in the manufacturing process.
Chloride is used in the manufacturing process of processors that powers many of the electronic devices that we use in our daily lives.
It isn’t possible to have our phones and computers without chlorine.
Air conditioning refrigerants use chlorine in the manufacturing process and it is hard to imagine the modern world without aircon.
Law Enforcement And Military
Chlorine helps to keep our police and military personnel safe in the heat of battle. This is because chlorine is used to manufacture bullet-proof vests.
In the military world, chlorine is used to manufacture cockpit canopies, night vision goggles and parachutes.
I bet you didn’t know that chlorine is also used in the manufacturing process of cars, boats, planes and trains.
Chlorine is used to manufacture items like airbags, seats and brake components. Mainly essential items to help keep us safe on our rides.
Last but definitely not least, many would agree that this has to be one of the most important uses of chlorine.
And that is to help purify the water that we use and drink in our day to day lives.
Many lives were lost in the past due to waterborne diseases and viruses like cholera and typhoid before the usage of chlorine to help purify drinking water.
Besides drinking water, chlorine is also used to disinfect the water used to fill up swimming pools. This is important even though we don’t drink from pool water. But there are pathogens in water that can cause a number of illnesses and health issues.
If you have pets, please ensure that your cats and dogs don’t drink from the pool as chlorinated water can cause chlorine poisoning in pets.
Dangers Of Chlorine
As helpful as chlorine is when it comes to manufacturing stuff and keeping our waters clean, there are some dangers of chlorine that we need to be aware of.
Chlorine poisoning can happen when we touch or breathe in chlorine which can be a common occurrence if you use cleaning products that have a high concentration of chlorine.
Pool owners that maintain their own pools are also in danger of chlorine solution when handling pool cleaning products like chlorine tablets.
Do not use chlorine-based products in the presence of heat or a naked flame. Even though chlorine itself is not flammable, it can be highly combustible when mixed with other chemical compounds like turpentine.
Do not mix chlorine-based products with other types of cleaning solutions. This can cause the solutions to react and release chlorine gas into your home.
This is dangerous as you are exposing your skin, eyes and respiratory system to chlorine. Chlorine gas can also contaminate the exposed food in your kitchen.
Symptoms Of Chlorine Poisoning
Here are some symptoms of chlorine poisoning:
- difficulty breathing
- eye irritation
- skin damage
- pain in mouth
- pain in throat
If you do experience any of these symptoms from handling chlorine-based products, please see a doctor immediately for treatment.
Do not underestimate the dangers of chlorine as it can hit you pretty hard and fast. In fact, chlorine was and still is used as a chemical warfare agent.
This tells you how potent it can be in the wrong hands.
How To Treat Chlorine Poisoning
Besides seeking medical treatment, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the symptoms of chlorine poisoning.
If you have accidentally swallowed chlorine, drink milk quickly to try and neutralize the chlorine in your stomach.
If you have come into concentrated chlorine, wash it off properly with water and soap. Chlorine in the eyes needs to be flushed out with running water for at least 10 minutes.
If you are cleaning an enclosed area like the attic or basement with a chlorine-based solution, wear a mask and keep the area well ventilated.
Once the smell of chlorine gas or fumes produced starts to get too pungent, leave the area and return only once the smell has the fumes has cleared.
Outlook Of Recovery
The faster you seek medical treatment for your chlorine poisoning, the better and quicker are your chances of a full recovery.
It also depends on the amount and concentration of the chlorine that you had come into contact with.
Chlorine poisoning is very dangerous and should not be taken lightly.
Please do be very careful when handling chlorine-based products at home. Make sure to always wear and mask and wash your hands thoroughly after.
Keep such products away from your kids and pets as they can be highly toxic to them.