Chlorine Health Hazard Information
- Chlorine is a potent irritant in humans to the eyes, the upper respiratory
tract, and the lungs. Several studies have reported the following effects:
0.014 to 0.054 ppm: tickling of the nose; 0.04 to 0.097 ppm: tickling
of the throat; 0.06 to 0.3 ppm; itching of the nose and cough, stinging,
or dryness of the nose and throat; 0.35 to 0.72 ppm: burning of the
conjunctiva and pain after 15 minutes; above 1.0 ppm: discomfort ranging
from ocular and respiratory irritation to coughing, shortness of breath,
- Higher levels of chlorine have resulted in the following effects
in humans: 1 to 3 ppm: mild mucous membrane irritation; 30 ppm: chest
pain, vomiting, dypsnea, cough; 46 to 60 ppm: toxic pneumonitis and
pulmonary edema; 430 ppm: lethal after 30 minutes; 1,000 ppm: fatal
within a few minutes.1
- Chlorine is extremely irritating to the skin and can cause severe
- Acute animal tests, such as the LC50 test in rats and
mice, have shown chlorine to have high acute toxicity.3
- EPA'sOffice of Air Quality Planning and Standards, for a hazard ranking
under Section 112(g) of the Clean Air Act Amendments, considers chlorine
to be a "high concern" pollutant based on severe acute toxicity.4
Chronic Effects (Noncancer):
- Several studies in the older literature reported that chronic exposure
to chlorine concentrations of around 5 ppm caused respiratory complaints,
corrosion of the teeth, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the
nose, and increased susceptibility to tuberculosis in workers.5
- Animal studies have reported decreased body weight gain, eye and
nose irritation, and effects on the respiratory tract, liver, and kidney
from chronic inhalation exposure to chlorine.2
- Other studies have indicated that exposure to chlorine, via inhalation,
may alter disease resistance in animals, with higher incidences of
emphysema, pneumonia, and tuberculosis reported.2
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Hazardous Substances
Data Bank (HSDB, online database). National Toxicology Information
Program, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. 1993.
- E.J. Calabrese and E.M. Kenyon. Air Toxics and Risk Assessment. Lewis
Publishers, Chelsea, MI. 1991.
- R.D. Morris, A. Audet, I.F. Angelillo, T. C. Chalmers, and F. Mosteller.
Chlorination, Chlorination by-products, and cancer: A meta-analysis.
American Journal of Public Health, 82(7):955-977. 1992.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ambient Water Quality Criteria
for Chlorine. EPA 440/5-84-030. Office of Water Regulations and Standards,
Washington, DC. 1985.
- American Council of Government of Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values. Fourth Edition. Cincinnati,
Chlorine Removing Products
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