Cinnaminson, NJ, December 20, 2016
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chlorine is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States. It is used in the production of thousands of products and can be found in some household products. Chlorine is also used in drinking water as well as swimming pools to kill harmful bacteria, and is used as part of the sanitation process for industrial waste and sewage.
The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that chlorine is very unstable and reacts with a variety of chemicals and water when it is released into the environment. It is broken down quickly by sunlight, and when dissolved in water, is converted into chloride and hypochlorous acid.
If chlorine is spilled or if it is released from a tank into the air, it will evaporate quickly forming a greenish-yellow cloud that is heavier than air and can be carried by the wind. Chlorine gas that comes into contact with moist tissues, such as the eyes, throat and lungs, will produce an acid that can cause damage. Exposure to low levels of chlorine gas can result in nose, throat and eye irritation. At higher levels, breathing chlorine gas may result in changes in a person’s breathing rate, coughing and damage to the lungs. During World War I, it was even used as a choking agent.
At home, people can be exposed to chlorine gas if they mix household cleaners containing ammonia with bleach or through the improper use of swimming pool chemicals. The CDC reports that during or immediately after exposure to dangerous concentrations of chlorine, the following signs and symptoms may develop:
- Blurred vision
- Burning pain, redness and blisters on the skin if exposed to gas. Skin injuries similar to frostbite can occur if it is exposed to liquid chlorine
- Burning sensation in the nose, throat and eyes
- Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Fluid in the lungs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Watery eyes
“Exposure to chlorine gas can lead to serious injuries so it’s imperative that workers and the public are aware of this hazard,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “To identify exposure risks, EMSL provides comprehensive testing services and all of the sampling supplies needed to test for chlorine and many chlorine compounds.”
EMSL has recently sponsored an educational video about chlorine exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/Ssibt6hqpA0. To learn more about chlorine or other air quality, occupational, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.