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Alternatives

Alternatives are available for most uses of chlorine. Before switching, facilities should evaluate alternatives based on their environmental and human health hazards, economic costs, and performance in production or products.

  • In etching processes, manufacturers use chlorine gas to regenerate spent etchant (ferric chloride and cupric chloride). The regeneration process entirely consumes the chlorine and drastically reduces waste etchant. Hydrogen peroxide and ozone can be substituted for chlorine, but they are not as effective in regenerating the solution, create more waste and have other hazards associated with their use.
  • Rubber product manufacturers in Massachusetts are actively pursuing alternatives to chlorine, but no alternatives have been found that provide adequate surface characteristics.
  • Sodium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, ozone, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can replace chlorine as a water purifier. For example, the Salisbury Massachusetts Wastewater Treatment Plant won the 1998 "Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Toxics Use Reduction" for their UV-based wastewater treatment system; it uses no chlorine. By removing chlorine from the treatment plant Salisbury officials achieved their goal of making the neighborhood and worksite safer.
  • Chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, oxygen and/or ozone can replace chlorine in pulp and paper bleaching operations. Pulp and paper facilities should choose bleaching systems that optimize water reuse and use less than 5 cubic meters of water to manufacture a metric ton of bleached kraft pulp.