If you have ever been in a swimming pool, you are probably aware of the effects of chlorine. This disinfectant is not only dangerous to aquatic life but is also a leading cause of bladder and rectal cancer. There is no known cure for chlorine exposure. However, the treatment involves the removal of chlorine from the body as quickly as possible. Supportive medical care may be required, such as inhaled breathing treatments in the hospital.
Chlorine is a disinfectant
While most germs can be killed by chlorine, it works best in systems that allow the disinfectant to sit in the water for a prolonged period. In pools, for example, chlorine kills E. coli in less than a minute. Giardia and Hepatitis A take about 16 minutes to kill after exposure to chlorine, while Cryptosporidium, a serious diarrheal illness, can take up to 10.6 days.
It works by interfering with the enzymes that bacteria use to fight off infection. This results in a faster kill of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. While the mechanism by which chlorine kills germs is not fully understood, it is a highly effective disinfectant in many situations. For example, if your water filter breaks, or there is a mixture of treated and raw water, chlorine is an excellent disinfectant.
It causes reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome is a medical condition whereby a person’s airways become hyperresponsive to a irritant after exposure. This condition is a type of irritant-induced asthma and is often classified as occupational asthma. Symptoms of reactive airways dysfunction syndrome include chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing. They can last for months or even years and in rare cases, can be fatal.
Inhalation of chlorine causes various respiratory disorders, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, and low-dose irritant-induced asthma. Some studies have used high concentrations of chlorine to induce the symptoms of RADS and asthma in mice. The severity of symptoms and the treatment needed vary depending on the severity of the exposure. There is also a connection between exposure to chlorine and chronic lung disease.
It causes bladder and rectal cancer
Recent studies have linked chlorine to a greater risk of cancer, especially bladder and rectal cancer. This chemical interacts with organic compounds in drinking water, producing a compound called trihalomethane. These compounds encourage the growth of free radicals, which destroy important cells in the body. While the chemicals found in drinking water may not cause cancer, they do damage to the rectum and bladder. This article will review some of the current research.
Two separate meta-analyses of these studies found that ever-consuming chlorinated water was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer among men and women. The combined ORs for mid-term and long-term exposure to chlorination by-products were 1.1.4, respectively. The estimates of the slope of the linear increase in risk for women and men were 1.3, 1.5, and 1.23, respectively.
It is a corrosive gas
The chemical element chlorine is a greenish-yellow gas that is a corrosive to both human and non-human animals. Chlorine gas and water have a similar composition, as the two are dispersed by a chemical process. These reactions create a mixture of acids known as hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid. Because of their high acidity and oxidizing potential, the combination of these two substances is highly corrosive to the human body.
People who are exposed to chlorine gas may be at risk of serious illness and even death. The corrosive gas can be fatal for the respiratory system. The Germans first used the gas cylinders in 1915, and people exposed to it began dying slowly from asphyxiation. Because of its strong odor, chlorine is a severe irritant. Even a small exposure to chlorine causes coughing, choking, wheezing, burning of the eyes, throat, and nose. Large exposures can cause fluid build-up in the lungs and result in drowning.
It reacts with other chemicals
Chlorine is one of the most widely used disinfectants today. Its widespread use has resulted in a dramatic reduction of waterborne diseases, but its use does carry certain risks. Chlorine reacts with organic matter to produce chlorination byproducts (CBPs), which alter the chemical properties of water. While this is generally harmless, it does have some negative effects on the environment and health, and there are some precautions to take before using chlorine in water treatment systems.
The majority of chlorine is found in ionic chloride compounds. Chlorine is the second-most abundant halogen after fluorine, and it is the twenty-first most common chemical element in the Earth’s crust. The huge reserves of chloride found in seawater dwarfs these crustal deposits. Chlorine reacts with other chemicals to produce various products. For this reason, it is useful as a disinfectant.
It is toxic to aquatic organisms
In a recent study, researchers evaluated the effects of chlorine on a variety of aquatic species. They found that it is toxic to aquatic crustaceans, particularly C. dubia, and to freshwater organisms. While these results were not conclusive, they did support the notion that toxicity levels may vary from one region to another. Therefore, these findings may be relevant in future site-specific ecological risk assessment.
To determine the exact toxicity of chlorine on aquatic organisms, scientists used two separate tests, one acute and one chronic. The acute toxicity test involved 70 healthy oysters, each aerated and filtered through a biological filtration system. The oysters were fed a mix of algae daily. The nominated exposure concentrations were 0.00, 0.025, and 0.1 mg/L, with the latter the definitive concentration used.