We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Chlorine Poisoning?

By J.M. Willhite
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Chlorine poisoning takes place when the chemical chlorine is swallowed, inhaled, or otherwise internalized in the body. Used to prevent the growth of bacteria, chlorine is utilized as a commercial and industrial disinfectant, most commonly in swimming pools and water treatment facilities. Once it enters the body, chlorine becomes extremely corrosive and toxic, requiring immediate medical attention.

Often used in the production of pesticides, refrigerants, and cleaning and disinfecting products, chlorine is easily detectable by its pungent odor. Most instances of poisoning occur when chlorine powder is mixed with bleach, resulting in the release of chlorinated gas. Even when used in low concentrations, chlorine can have a devastating effect on individuals if used, stored, or handled improperly.

The ability of chlorine to form hydrochloric and hydrochlorus acid when it reacts with moisture is what makes it so dangerous. Chlorine exposure can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or through contact with the skin or mucus membranes. The route and duration of exposure play a critical role in diagnosis and treatment.

When inhaled, chlorine can instigate swelling of the throat and promote fluid buildup in the lungs, also known as pulmonary edema, which leads to breathing difficulty. Chlorine that is ingested will not only burn the throat and esophagus, but will result in severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Vision loss can occur if chlorine, in any pure form, is introduced to the eyes. If chlorine enters the blood stream through an opening in the skin, it can severely affect acid levels, known as pH, and damage internal organs. In other instances of exposure, when chlorine is internalized, blood pressure can plummet and an individual's circulatory system will become compromised and at risk of collapse.

In crisis situations, time is critical, so medical attention should be sought immediately following the confirmation of chlorine poisoning. An individual experiencing chlorine poisoning will become symptomatic within minutes of exposure. The severity of symptoms is dependent on a number of factors, including how the chlorine was introduced into the body, the amount and concentration, and the duration of exposure. Prior to seeking medical treatment, each of the above mentioned factors should be determined as well as the individual's weight, age, and time the exposure occurred.

During an initial medical examination, a health care provider documents and monitors the individual's blood pressure, respiration, temperature, and pulse. A diagnosis of chlorine poisoning is based primarily on a clinical examination and not laboratory testing. In cases of exposure via ingestion, a camera is inserted down the throat into the esophagus and stomach, a process known as endoscopy, to determine severity of damage. When inhalation exposure occurs, a bronchoscopy, a small camera inserted down the trachea, is employed to establish the extent of burns sustained in an individual's airways and lungs.

Treatment is determined by the route, severity, and duration of chlorine exposure. Treatment options for chlorine poisoning initially include the introduction of fluids to flush the system, in cases of ingestion; irrigation, the washing of exposed skin; and the administration of oxygen to aid with respiration. Critical cases of chlorine poisoning may require hospital admission for additional medical care.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.