Chlorine is a chemical compound that is found in a liquid and a gaseous form. The liquid is colorless to amber colored and the gas is greenish-yellow in color.
Chlorine is used in water purification because it prevents bacteria from growing. It is found in swimming pool water. Chlorine is used as a disinfecting agent in mild cleaners and some bleach products. It is also used in industrial products such as industrial plastic production and other industrial and consumer products.
Chlorine poisoning occurs when a person swallows it or inhales it. Chlorine reacts with water inside and outside the body to form acids which are extremely poisonous.
The symptoms will depend on the part of the body affected.
- Respiratory: may include cough, sore throat, a choking sensation, breathing difficulty, upper airway irritation and burns to mucous membranes and lungs, pulmonary edema (fluid filling the lung), inflammation of the sinuses and lungs, and lung infection.
- Blood: change in the acidity of the blood.
- Eyes: watering of the eyes, pain and burning sensation in the eyes, redness, burns, loss of vision.
- Skin: when the skin comes in contact with chlorine it may lead to, irritation, pain, redness, burning sensation, frost bite, skin burns (see chemical burns part I, II).
- Heart and blood vessels: collapse, possible arrhythmias (abnormal conduction), decrease in blood pressure.
- Gastrointestinal: nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal pain, burns to the food pipe, vomiting blood or blood in the stool.
- Nervous system: headache, dizziness, decrease consciousness level, coma.
- Kidney: it may lead to kidney damage.
- Liver: it may lead to liver damage.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.