Know the Functions and Dangers of Chlorine

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Know the Functions and Dangers of Chlorine
Know the Functions and Dangers of Chlorine

Some people may not know the functions and dangers of chlorine. This chemical substance is often used to eradicate germs and as a water purifier in swimming pools. However, chlorine can be harmful to he alth if used improperly

Chlorine is a chemical that is often used as a disinfectant. Chlorine is available in solid, liquid, or gas forms. This chemical is commonly used in the industrial sector and as an ingredient in household cleaners.

Know the Functions and Dangers of Chlorine - Alodokter
Know the Functions and Dangers of Chlorine - Alodokter

In addition to having many benefits, chlorine can be dangerous if swallowed, inhaled, or directly exposed to the skin, especially in large amounts.

The Various Functions of Chlorine and Their Uses

The main function of chlorine is to inhibit growth and eradicate bacteria and various types of microbes. Because of these benefits, chlorine is often used to purify drinking water and swimming pools.

Not only that, chlorine is also used as an active ingredient in household cleaning products, clothes bleach, or sanitary napkins. The following are various other functions of chlorine in daily and industrial life:

  • Materials for production of paper, plastic, textile dyes, fabrics, and paints
  • Active ingredients in whitening products
  • Mixed medicine and antiseptic fluid
  • Pesticide mixture
  • Industrial waste sanitation

Hazards of Chlorine to He alth

Chlorine is very easy to find in everyday life because of the various benefits it provides. However, exposure to chlorine can also cause several he alth problems, such as:

Skin irritation

The risk of skin irritation from chlorine increases if you are exposed to large amounts of chlorine, for example when you swim in a swimming pool with high levels of chlorine.

Allergic reactions that may appear are itching and redness. Sometimes, exposure to chlorine can also cause skin to become scaly and dry. This is because chlorine is able to erode the natural oils on the skin. This is the reason why skin feels dry and stretchy after swimming.

Chlorine can sometimes cause irritation even in normal levels. This is caused by a mixture of chlorine with sweat, dead skin cells, and urine to form chloramine. The presence of chloramine can be recognized by the pungent smell of pool water.

Eye irritation

Exposure to chlorine can cause itchy and red eyes, blurred vision, and a burning sensation in the eyes. Therefore, rinse immediately with clean water when the eyes are exposed to chlorine.

You are also advised to wear swimming goggles when swimming in a pool that contains chlorine.

Respiratory disorders

Exposure to gases containing large amounts of chlorine can cause irritation and respiratory problems. This condition can trigger symptoms of shortness of breath, runny nose, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. Exposure to chlorine gas can also trigger a recurrence of symptoms in asthmatics.

Exposure to large amounts of chlorine will react with the mucosal lining in the body and form hydrochloric acid and hypochlorous acid. Both of these substances are toxic to the human body.

Chlorine poisoning can cause problems in the digestive organs and cause symptoms in the form of a sore mouth, sore and swollen throat, stomach pain, vomiting, and bloody stools. In addition, chlorine poisoning is also characterized by changes in pH in the blood and a drastic drop in blood pressure.

However, chlorine will not cause harmful he alth effects if the content is very small, such as in drinking water. A study shows that the addition of low levels of chlorine in drinking water actually provides protection against water-borne disease-causing bacteria.

After knowing the functions and dangers of chlorine, you are expected to be more careful when using household cleaning products or when swimming in swimming pools.

If you experience any allergic reactions or symptoms due to chlorine exposure mentioned above, don't hesitate to consult a doctor for proper treatment.