Chlorine explained, for kids

Muslim Matters

Chlorine explained, for kids


•    Chlorine is an element used in industry and found in some household products.

•    Chlorine is sometimes in the form of a poisonous gas. Chlorine gas can be pressurized and cooled to change it into a liquid so that it can be shipped and stored. When liquid chlorine is released, it quickly turns into a gas that stays close to the ground and spreads rapidly.

•    Chlorine gas can be recognized by its pungent, irritating odor, which is like the odor of bleach. The strong smell may provide an adequate warning to people that they have been exposed.

•    Chlorine gas appears to be yellow-green in color.

•    Chlorine itself is not flammable, but it can react explosively or form explosive compounds with other chemicals such as turpentine and ammonia.

•    Chlorine was used during World War I as a choking (pulmonary) agent.

•    Chlorine is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States. Its most important use is as a bleach in the manufacture of paper and cloth, but it is also used to make pesticides (insect killers), rubber, and solvents.

•    Chlorine is used in drinking water and swimming pool water to kill harmful bacteria. It is also as used as part of the sanitation process for industrial waste and sewage.

•    Household chlorine bleach can release chlorine gas if it is mixed with other cleaning agents.

•    People’s risk for exposure depends on how close they are to the place where the chlorine was released.

•    If chlorine gas is released into the air, people may be exposed through skin contact or eye contact. They may also be exposed by breathing air that contains chlorine.

•    If chlorine liquid is released into water, people may be exposed by touching or drinking water that contains chlorine.

•    If chlorine liquid comes into contact with food, people may be exposed by eating the contaminated food.

•    Chlorine gas is heavier than air, so it would settle in low-lying areas.

•    The extent of poisoning caused by chlorine depends on the amount of chlorine a person is exposed to, how the person was exposed, and the length of time of the exposure.

•    When chlorine gas comes into contact with moist tissues such as the eyes, throat, and lungs, an acid is produced that can damage these tissues.

Long-term complications from chlorine exposure are not found in people who survive a sudden exposure unless they suffer complications such as pneumonia during therapy. Chronic bronchitis may develop in people who develop pneumonia during therapy.

No antidote exists for chlorine exposure. Treatment consists of removing the chlorine from the body as soon as possible and providing supportive medical care in a hospital setting.

Laboratory testing for chlorine exposure will not be useful in making treatment decisions. A person exposed to harmful amounts of chlorine will notice it immediately because of the unpleasant odor and the resulting skin, eye, nose and/or throat irritation. Therefore, the diagnosis and treatment of chlorine poisoning will primarily be based upon patient history and their health effects.

The Element Chlorine is defined as…

A highly irritating, greenish-yellow gaseous halogen, capable of combining with nearly all other elements, produced principally by electrolysis of sodium chloride and used widely to purify water, as a disinfectant and bleaching agent, and in the manufacture of many important compounds including chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. The most common uses of Chlorine are in Bleaches, Mustard gas, Water purification, Production of chlorates, Paper production, Antiseptic, Insecticides, Paint, Plastics and Medicines.
Chlorine is classified as an element in the ‘Halogens’ section which can be located in group 7 of the Periodic Table. The term “halogen” means “salt-former” and compounds containing halogens are called “salts”. The halogens exist, at room temperature, in all three states of matter – Gases such as Fluorine & Chlorine, Solids such as Iodine and Astatine and Liquid as in Bromine.

As stated that chlorine is a powerful oxidant and a strong bleaching agent, it is used for industrial uses and mainly for paper and cloth industries. They are also used to disinfect and purify water- both drinking water and water of the swimming pools since Chlorine destroys harmful bacteria. Chlorine because f its potential to disinfect also is used for the sanitation of waste and sewage that comes out of the industries. You can validate this by checking the disinfectant at your house and you will see that it also contains a small percentage of Chlorine if not more. Chlorine is also used in the manufacturing of pesticides, solvents and rubber. Chlorine gas is also used in refrigerants and being an important chemical, it is also used as an example to show the characteristics of halogens.
Chlorine is corrosive gas, which reacts with the hydrogen of water in the tissues of living tings and releases nascent oxygen. This nascent oxygen and the hydrogen compound that is formed, precisely Hydrogen Chloride have the potential to harm the tissues. Not only that the resultant compound of Chlorine also has the potential to enter the cells and destroy the constituents of the cell. So whenever a plant, an animal or a human being is exposed to chlorine, there are fair chances that it might have to go through all this if the exposure occurs for a considerable period of time.

Both spoil and water can have chlorine, which can be passed on to a plant, an animal or a human being. Chlorine has the potential to be fatal if the intake is in sufficient quantities. So if Chlorine is in air it can be inhaled by life forms, similarly if it is in a dissolved form even then plants and animals alike can consume it. Chlorine can also be there is the food that human consumed since it could have been cooked in Chlorine rich water. Being heavier and denser than air it always remains at the lower levels of atmosphere, which is the air that life forms inhale.


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