Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook

Chlorine Gas: Health and Safety Hazards Fact Sheet

Table of Contents
About this Article
Health and safety risks of chlorine gas can occur during professional or personal use. Widely used in manufacturing and industrial applications, chlorine gas can become a severe hazard if accidental release, leaks, or transportation incidents occur. Knowing what chlorine is, as well as its health and safety risks is critical.
Related Topics
Published

Health and safety risks of chlorine gas can occur during professional or personal use. Widely used in manufacturing and industrial applications, chlorine gas can become a severe hazard if accidental release, leaks, or transportation incidents occur. Knowing what chlorine is, as well as its health and safety risks is critical.

What is Chlorine?

CAS Number: 7782-50-5

Chemical Compound: Cl2

Other names: Molecular chlorine, dichlorine, chlorinated water, bertholite, Javelle water, and sodium hypochlorite

Chemical Properties

Molecular weight:           70.91

Specific gravity:                 1.56 (LIQUID, -34.6°C)

Boiling point:                      -34.6°C

Melting point:                   -101°C

Vapour pressure:             4800 mmHg (at 20°C)

Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical element, although due to its reactive nature, it is rarely found in its natural form. It is more commonly found bonded into compounds such as table salt (NaCl).

Chlorine can exist as a liquid or gas; however, under normal atmospheric conditions, liquid Cl would vaporise. Chlorine gas has a visible, yellow-green colour with a pungent, irritating odour. The gas is heavier than air and spreads rapidly.

While it is non-flammable, chlorine is highly reactive; forming toxic, explosive or acidic elements when combined with other materials or compounds.

How is Chlorine Used?

Chlorines ability to combine with other elements and compounds is commonly used in a wide range of applications from manufacturing (production of pesticides, rubber, solvents, and plastics), industrial (sewage, water treatment, paper and fabric bleaching), domestically (swimming pools, cleaners) and healthcare (pharmaceuticals).

To be stored and transported, it is pressurised and cooled to change it into a liquid form. If liquid chlorine is released, it quickly turns into a gas.

Safety Hazards of Chlorine

Chlorine gas hazards can occur during manufacture, use and transportation. An in-depth emergency response plan and ongoing training are necessary to mitigate the risk of a crisis.

Though most facilities are designed to minimise the risk of a chlorine release, accidental releases and leaks are possible. Monitoring equipment should be in place to detect signs of gas leaks and prompt appropriate action.

Chlorine Gas Release: Plume Hazards

Chlorine use is widespread, from the manufacturing of medication to industrial bleaching. The frequency and commonality of chlorine increase the risk of accidental release.

In 2018, the American Association of Poison Control Centres reported over 3,000 chlorine gas exposures (excluding household acid is mixed with hypochlorite and swimming pools). Petrochemical companies working with chlorine gas must be aware of the risk of an accidental release and chlorine toxicity.

How long for chlorine gas to dissipate? The duration and behaviour of a chemical plume are dependent on many factors. These include the product released, its chemical and physical properties, the volume released, ambient temperature, time of day, relative humidity, wind direction and speed, terrain, natural and urban barriers and environmental sorption factors such as dense and sparse foliage.

A 2017 study analysed the behaviour of a catastrophic release of Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) materials, specifically chlorine and ammonia. Notable differences in the plumes movements in varied conditions are used to aid the development of emergency planning and response, including evacuation and shelter-in-place. 2

If a chlorine gas release occurs, evacuation is not always possible, and adequate shelters must be in place to protect personnel.

Source: https://www.uvu.edu/es/jack-rabbit/

Share this Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Want to find out more?

Talk to an expert about our products, services, and custom solutions.