Fact: Chlorine was used a chemical weapon during World War I.

Chlorine has numerous advantages, one of them being that it is a powerful disinfectant that kills the widest range of pathogens, and also is extremely powerful against viruses and bacteria at room temperature. However, chlorine as a chemical is harmful and that is the major reason it is among the first chemical weapon that was used in the First World War.

It is highly recommended that when using a commercial cleaning detergent that has chlorine chemical, one should always wear gloves and face masks.

Is Chlorine a Safe Chemical?

Chlorine is a strong corrosive material, and it is capable of irritating human eyes and skin. Additionally, it can cause respiratory tract by simply inhaling chlorine gas. Bleach containing chlorine chemical is even more dangerous when mixed with other cleaners and can lead to neurological disorders, headaches, bloody noses and even death. Dish detergent is the most common household poisoning, and some of the reported dangerous causes include permanent damage in the mouth or throat when swallowed because of its highly corrosive characteristics. Ingestion of chlorine dissolved in water also causes tissue damage of the gastrointestinal tract.

Underlying chlorine toxicity has been linked to being the cause of childhood illnesses such as

  • asthma
  • breast cancer
  • and other illnesses

It is recommended to leave the water treated with chlorine for 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate at room temperature or due to atmospheric pressure when left in the fridge. Some of the effects of chlorine used in commercial cleaning include chest pain, difficulty in breathing, dry throat, sore throat and coughing. It is highly recommended that when these effects appear, one should immediately seek professional help from a physician.

Chlorine as a Weapon

The debut of the first poison gas, chlorine, came on 22 April 1915, at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres during World War 1. It was used by the German Army.

Popularly belief is that the German army was the first to use poison gas, however many historians believe it was first used by the French.  In the first few months of the war, the French Army used tear-gas  (xylyl bromide) against the Germans.  This may have paved the way for the rapid development of chemical weapons since the Germans began to see an opportunity.

The German Army invested heavily in chemical weapons and succeeded in developing

Chlorine in Traditional Cleaning Products

Chlorine is undoubtedly a chemical that is most widely used as a commercial cleaning agent in most households today. Chlorine is an element itself that is found in a compound known as sodium hypochlorite which is found in commercial cleaning agents. Chlorine is mostly used as a bleaching agent or as a disinfectant and in household cleaners, it is found in:

automatic dishwashing detergents
chlorinated disinfectant cleaners,
laundry detergents
chlorine bleach
toilet bowl cleaners
mildew removers
and more
Chlorine works well as a disinfectant by killing germs, just like heat does to get rid of germs or bacteria. Chlorine does this by clumping together proteins molecules that are responsible for providing life to bacteria’s. This destroys bacteria and disinfects surfaces. Chlorine is also widely used as a commercial cleaning agent for whitening clothes and papers in the industry as well.

Chlorine as an element does not break down but rather combines to form molecules or dissipates into the atmosphere into gas at room temperature.