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What are the Risks of Chlorine Exposure?

Chlorine exposure can pose significant health risks, ranging from respiratory issues to skin irritation. When inhaled or contacted, it can damage delicate tissues and exacerbate asthma. Long-term exposure may even have more severe consequences. Curious about how to protect yourself and your family from these dangers? Discover more about the risks and safety measures in our comprehensive guide. How safe is your environment?
Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical element. This element is used in numerous domestic and industrial products. Use of products containing this chemical is common and special permits and training are generally not required to obtain products that contain it. That does not mean, however, that it does not pose threats to humans’ health. Chlorine exposure can result in problems such as breathing difficulty and tissue damage.

The risks of chlorine exposure depend upon the severity. In this instance, severity refers to a combination of several factors. First, it must be considered how much chlorine a person is exposed to. Chlorine, in small quantities, can be placed in swimming pools or drinking water without posing risks. If, however, those dosages are dramatically increased, exposure is likely to have negative consequences.

Chlorine is often used in swimming pools in small, safe quantities.
Chlorine is often used in swimming pools in small, safe quantities.

Second, it is necessary to consider the manner in which the person was exposed. For example, if a person inhales large amounts of chlorine, he may experience breathing difficulty. Large amounts of chlorine absorbed through the skin can result in result in inflammation, severe burns, or blistering.

The third factor to consider is the length of the chlorine exposure. A person may be exposed to enough chlorine gas to induce coughing, for example. If that person immediately leaves the area and is exposed to a great deal of fresh air, it is likely that the brevity of exposure will not result in long-lasting effects.

A person who has been exposed to chlorine may be inflicted with numerous effects. He may begin to cough and experience feelings of tightness in his chest. When chlorine exposure is significant, accumulation of fluid in the lungs can result.

Chlorine in a gaseous form has adverse effects on moist tissues. This includes the eyes and lungs. Chlorine in the air, for example, poses a risk to the eyes.

Chlorine is routinely added to drinking water to make it safe for consumption, though too much chlorine could be dangerous.
Chlorine is routinely added to drinking water to make it safe for consumption, though too much chlorine could be dangerous.

Chlorine exposure can cause dermatological damage. When the substance is in the gaseous state the skin may become painful and a person may develop blisters. In a liquid form, the skin injury can be compared to one experienced when a person has frostbite.

Hospital treatment may be necessary in some instances of chlorine exposure. Even if this is the case, a person who suffers from sudden chlorine exposure will not generally experience permanent effects, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The exception to this, says the CDC, is when therapy is complicated by a condition such as pneumonia. When this happens, a person may develop chronic bronchitis.

Over exposure to chlorine can result in frequent coughing and respiratory issues.
Over exposure to chlorine can result in frequent coughing and respiratory issues.

The risks of chlorine exposure can often be avoided. Chlorine has a distinct smell, often described as a pungent egg-like odor. If those who work with or use the chemical are aware of this characteristic, it is likely that they will be able to identify the presence of the chemical. This can eliminate the likelihood of risky exposure to the chemical.

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    • Chlorine is often used in swimming pools in small, safe quantities.
      By: ikonoklast_hh
      Chlorine is often used in swimming pools in small, safe quantities.
    • Chlorine is routinely added to drinking water to make it safe for consumption, though too much chlorine could be dangerous.
      By: cdrcom
      Chlorine is routinely added to drinking water to make it safe for consumption, though too much chlorine could be dangerous.
    • Over exposure to chlorine can result in frequent coughing and respiratory issues.
      By: kmiragaya
      Over exposure to chlorine can result in frequent coughing and respiratory issues.
    • Chlorine exposure can impact a person's sinuses.
      By: volodina
      Chlorine exposure can impact a person's sinuses.
    • A significant amount of chlorine exposure can cause the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
      By: decade3d
      A significant amount of chlorine exposure can cause the accumulation of fluid in the lungs.