In 1912, polyvinylchloride (PVC) was invented without a purpose. B.F. Goodrich later
marketed it and sold it as a shower curtain. In 1915, chlorine was first used as a weapon
in World War I, and in 1922, chlorine was used as liquid bleach for the household. In
1933, Dow Chemical produced Saran (polyvinylidene chloride), and in 1949 it was
marketed as Saran wrap. Throughout the 1990’s, various forms of chlorine have been
used for medicines and developing medical imaging techniques such as x-rays and
similar devices. Today, chlorine can be found in bleach products used for laundry or in
the individual household for cleaning purposes. It can be found in swimming pools and
in the drinking water supply.
Facts about Chlorine
Chlorine is involved in many aspects of the world. Every year, 12 million tons
are produced in North America [Ref. 9]. Economically, chlorine is very important. It
supports 2 million jobs annually in the US [Ref. 9]. Chlorine makes up 25% of the yearly
output of plastics. It is also used for medical products, packaging, and
appliances/electronics. Chlorine is not replaceable in these products, and to date, there is
no known alternative.
There are nine isotopes of chlorine, but only three are stable including 35Cl, 36Cl,
and 37Cl. 36Cl is radioactive and can be used as a tracer to label compounds. Its half-life
is 3.01 x 105 years. The molecular weight of chlorine is 35.45 g/mol because 35Cl is the
most abundant isotope making up 75.77% of chlorine’s weight.
Routes of Exposure