How is chlorine used?

What is chlorine?

Because of its widespread use in industrial and commercial locations, exposure to chlorine could occur from an accidental spill or release, or from a deliberate terrorist attack. The most harmful route of exposure is from breathing chlorine gas. Exposure may also result from skin contact or eye contact with chlorine gas or by swallowing chlorine-contaminated food or water. The most common exposure is by taking a bath or shower where the skin absorbs the chlorine.

Chlorine gas is heavier than air and will initially remain in low-lying areas unless wind or other conditions provide air movement.

Chlorine is a chemical used in industry and in household cleaning products. Chlorine is among the ten highest volume chemicals made in the United States. At room temperature, chlorine is a gas. It has a yellow-green color, and a pungent, irritating odor similar to bleach. Usually, it is pressurized and cooled for storage and shipment as an amber-colored liquid. Chlorine does not catch fire easily but may combine with other common substances to form explosive compounds.

How can people be exposed to chlorine?

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What happens to chlorine in the body?

The Dangers of Chlorine in Drinking Water

Chlorine has a variety of uses. It is used to disinfect water and is part of the sanitation process for sewage and industrial waste. During the production of paper and cloth, chlorine is used as a bleaching agent. It is also used in cleaning products, including household bleach which is chlorine dissolved in water. Chlorine is used in the preparation of chlorides, chlorinated solvents, pesticides, polymers, synthetic rubbers, and refrigerants.

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Most harmful chlorine exposures are the result of inhalation. Health effects typically begin within seconds to minutes. Following chlorine exposure, the most common symptoms are:

  • Airway irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin irritation


The severity of health effects depends upon the route of exposure, the dose, and the duration of exposure to chlorine. Breathing high levels of chlorine causes fluid build-up in the lungs, a condition is known as pulmonary edema. The development of pulmonary edema may be delayed for several hours after exposure to chlorine. Contact with compressed liquid chlorine may cause frostbite of the skin and eyes.

There are several methods to remove Chlorine from your water.  One is to wait until the Chlorine evaporates out of your water. Chlorine is very volatile and very unstable. So, It evaporates out of your water into the air. Room temperature becomes a gas. You can wait before drinking your glass of water and eventually it will go away. But most of the absorption is through showers and bathes. Your bathwater would be cold if you had to wait that long. 

The other way to remove chlorine is through Filtration. Reverse Osmosis at the sink which still doesn't take care of bath water or showers or Whole House Water Filter. We recommend the BWW 1000

Removal of Chlorine in your Water?

Chlorine is a very potent chemical, which is why it’s commonly used for the purpose of disinfecting drinking water and pool water. Keep in mind that drinking water with high amounts of chlorine won’t automatically lead to severe health problems. It’s only when you drink chlorinated water for prolonged periods of time that you can begin to experience some adverse health effects.

The various effects of drinking water with high amounts of chlorine include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Nervous system effects
  • Miscarriages


When it comes to bladder cancer, the EPA directly established max contamination levels for chlorine in water because of how many cases of bladder cancer resulted from the THMs in tap water. Nearly 17 percent of bladder cancer cases resulted from drinking water with too much chlorine in it. Keep in mind that THMs are byproducts of chlorination. With breast cancer, women who suffer from this disease have around 50-60 percent higher levels of chlorination byproducts within some of their fat tissue when compared to women who don’t suffer from breast cancer.

The nervous system effects of drinking chlorinated water for a lengthy period of time primarily occur among younger children and infants. These effects could also occur in pregnant women. A small selection of individuals may experience anemia as well. When it comes to miscarriages, it’s been found that chlorination byproducts can negatively affect the reproductive system, which could result in a wide range of reproductive problems and miscarriages. The miscarriage rate of women who drink at least five glasses of water containing over .075 mg/l TTHM is around 15.7 percent, which is decidedly higher than the 9.5 percent of women who experience miscarriages with hardly any exposure to TTHM.

When chlorine enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing, or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce acids. The acids are corrosive and damage cells in the body on contact.

What are the immediate health effects of chlorine exposure?

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