Chlorine Benefits

Through the following applications, chlorine chemistry contributes to the everyday life of Canadian consumers:

Drinking water disinfection

The vast majority of Canadian water systems use chlorine to help provide safe drinking water and return properly treated wastewater to the environment, thereby avoiding the public health risks associated with the consumption or dissemination of pathogen-containing water that spreads disease, and the personal loss and costs of treating those diseases. To illustrate, contamination of the water supply in Walkerton, Ontario by E. coli in 2000 caused seven deaths, made 2,000 people ill, and imposed costs on the community that amounted to about $45 million. The stated benefits of disinfection apply regardless of the specific technology used in the disinfection process. However, the public benefits specifically from chlorine chemistry in water treatment because it is more cost effective than alternative disinfection techniques. In addition, only chlorine-based disinfectants prevent microbial re-growth and help protect treated water as it journeys from the treatment plant to the tap.

Excerpted from “The Benefits of Chlorine Chemistry in Water Treatment” by Whitfield & Associates, December 2008

Recreational water disinfection

Chlorine-based pool and spa chemicals are essential to keeping recreational waters safe and healthy. Proper chlorination helps control harmful microorganisms in recreational waters that can cause diarrhea, ear infections and skin rashes, including swimmer’s ear and athlete’s foot. Kiddie pools are notorious for bathroom-related “accidents.” Chlorine pool disinfectants help sanitize pool water in the wake of kiddie accidents, restoring parents’ peace of mind.

Household disinfection

Consumers benefit from chlorine chemistry in their use of bleaches and disinfectants by having access to low cost products that satisfy their needs in a wide variety of applications. Chlorine-based disinfectants are a key ally in the battle against the spread of colds, flu and other infectious illnesses on the home front and in schools, and healthcare and daycare environments. Germs can live on hard surfaces such as door knobs and children’s toys for hours, providing opportunities for infection by hand contact. Chlorine also guards against Salmonella and other pathogens in the kitchen. Many familiar and cost-effective brand name cleaners and disinfectants depend on the sanitizing power of chlorine.  Alternatives to chlorine-based products and processes are available in all these applications, but consumers overwhelmingly prefer the chlorine-based ones where they are available.

Excerpted from “The Benefits of Chlorine Chemistry in Bleaches and Disinfectants” by Whitfield & Associates, December 2007

Other key uses include

Pharmaceutical products

More than 93% of top-selling Canadian pharmaceuticals are made with chlorine chemistry. The use of pharmaceuticals can be a critical factor in reducing total health care costs as well as improving the quality of life for those who use them.  See more

Excerpted from “TheBenefits of Chlorine Chemistry in Pharmaceuticals”by Global Insight, December 2006

Silicon-based products

Chlorine chemistry is central to the production of the highly purified silicon that is required for the manufacture of silicon-based integrated circuits and solar cells, silicone-based products, glass optical fibers, and high purity fumed silica. No chlorine-free processes have yet been developed that can produce silicon of the required purity, so the chlorine industry provides consumers with valuable products.

Excerpted from “The Benefits of Chlorine Chemistry in Semiconductors and Other Silicon-Based Products”by Global Insight, December 2006

Polyvinyl chloride

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a versatile plastic used in applications ranging from window frames to water pipes for infrastructure renewal.

Excerpted from “The Economic Benefits of Polyvinyl Chloride in the United States and Canada” by Whitfield & Associates, December 2008

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