United Slates      EPA 749 F 94 010
       Environmental Protection  December 1994
       Agency


       Office ol Pollution Prevention and Toxcs (7401)
&ER& Chemicals in the
       Environment
       CHLORINE
       (CAS NO. 7782-50-5)

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Chemicals can be released to the envi-
ronment as a result of their manufacture,
processing, and use  The EPA has de-
veloped information  summaries on se-
lected  chemicals to  describe  how you
might  be exposed to these chemicals,
how exposure to them might affect you
and  the environment, what happens to
them in the environment, who regulates
them,  and whom to contact  for addi-
tional information. EPA is committed to
reducing  environmental  releases   of
chemicals through source reduction and
other practices that reduce  creation  of
pollutants

WHAT IS CHLORINE, HOW IS IT
  USED, AND HOW MIGHT I BE
            EXPOSED?

       Chlorine is a highly reactive gas
It  is  a  naturally  occurring  element
Chlorine is   produced  in  very  large
amounts (23 billion pounds in 1992) by
eighteen companies in the United States
US demand  for chlorine is expected to
increase slightly  over the next several
years and then decline   The expected
decline in US demand is due to envi-
ronmental concerns  for chlorinated or-
ganic chemicals   The largest users  of
chlorine are  companies that make eth-
ylene dichloride  and other  chlorinated
solvents, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) res-
ins, chlorofluorocarbons, and propylene
oxide  Paper companies  use chlorine to
bleach paper   Water and  wastewater
treatment plants use chlorine to reduce
water levels  of microorganisms that can

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spread disease to humans

       Exposure to chlorine can occur in
the workplace or in  the  environment  fol-
lowing releases to air, water, or land  People
who use laundry bleach and swimming pool
chemicals containing chlorine products are
usually  not  exposed to  chlorine  itself
Chlorine is generally found only in indus-
trial  settings    Chlorine  enters the body
breathed  in with contaminated air or when
consumed with contaminated food or water
It does not remain in the body due to its
reactivity.
 WHAT HAPPENS TO CHLORINE IN
        THE ENVIRONMENT?

       Chlorine dissolves when mixed with
water.  It can also escape from water and
enter  air under certain conditions   Most
direct releases of chlorine to the environ-
ment are to air and to surface water.  Once in
air or in water, chlorine reacts with other
chemicals.  It combines with inorganic ma-
terial  in water  to form chloride salts   It
combines with organic material in water to
form  chlorinated  organic chemicals  Be-
cause of its reactivity chlorine is not likely to
move  through  the   ground  and  enter
groundwater   Plants and animals are not
likely to store chlorine

  HOW DOES CHLORINE AFFECT
     HUMAN HEALTH AND THE
          ENVIRONMENT?

       Effects of chlorine on human health

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and the environment depend on how
much  chlorine is present and  the
length and frequency  of exposure
Effects also depend on the health of a
person or  condition  of  the  envi-
ronment when exposure occurs.

       Breathing small amounts of
chlorine  for  short periods of  time
adversely  affects  the  human respi-
ratory  system  Effects range from
coughing  and chest pain  to water
retention in the lungs.  Chlorine  ir-
ritates  the  skin, the eyes, and the
respiratory system. These effects are
not likely to occur at levels of chlo-
rine that are  normally found in the
environment.

       Human health  effects  asso-
ciated  with  breathing  or otherwise
consuming small  amounts of chlo-
rine over long periods of time are not
known.  They are currently under
investigation.  Some  studies show
that workers develop adverse effects
from  repeat inhalation  exposure to
chlorine, but others do not  Labora-
tory studies show that repeat expo-
sure to chlorine in air can adversely
affect the immune system, the blood,
the heart, and the respiratory system
of animals

       Chlorine  causes   environ-
mental harm at low levels  Chlorine
is  especially  harmful  to organisms
living in water and in soil.

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WHAT EPA rROGRAM omen REGULATE CHLORINE, AND UNDER WHAT LAWB n IT REGULATED?
     EPAOmci
     PoUutioo Prevention ft Tones
     Air
     Pesticide Programs
     Solid Wute ft
      Emergency Response
     Water
LAW
Toxic Substance* Control Act
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA): Regulations (313)
  Toxics Release Inventory dat*
Clean Air Act
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfiind)
Reaource Conservation and Recovery Act / EPCRA ( 304/311/312)
Clean Water Act
     A technical support document is available from the TSCA Assistance Information Service, (202) 554-1404.

WHAT OTHER FEDERAL ACENCDB OR GROUTS CAN I CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ON CHLORINE?
     AGENCY/GROUP
     Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
     American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygjenistt
     Consumer Product Safety Commission
     Food and Drug Administration
     National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (EnviroHealth Clearinghouse)
     National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
     Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PHONE NUMBER
 (202)554-1404
 (800) 535-0202
 (202)260-1531
 (919)541-0888
 (800) 858-7378
 (800) 535-0202

 (202) 260-7588
                                          PHONE NUMBER
                                          (404) 639-6000
                                          (513)742-2020
                                          (301) 504-0994
                                          (301)443-3170
                                          (800)643-794
                                          (800) 356-4674
                                          (Check your local phone book under U.S. Department of Labor)

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