This fact sheet is part of a series of chemical fact sheets developed by TURI to help Massachusetts companies, community organizations and residents understand the chemical's use and health and environmental effects, as well as the availability of safer alternatives. Since Massachusetts companies report usage under the Toxics Use Reduction Act, readers will learn how the chemicals are being used and by which companies.
Often the subject of environmental and public health concerns by association with chlorinated chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs), chlorine itself is a potentially serious hazard to workers and the environment. In Massachusetts, overall chlorine use is declining. However, in some industry sectors like high tech etching, gold refining, chlorinated rubber products, and water purification, its use is on the rise. In most applications safer substitutes for chlorine are available, but sometimes at a higher cost.
Chlorine poses the greatest potential for harm to human health through acute exposure.
Chlorine is extremely toxic to aquatic organisms; less than 0.1 micrograms of chlorine per liter of water has killed 50% of the exposed aquatic organisms.
Learn more about Chlorine health effects, use in Massachusetts, and alternatives here.