Chlorination and Health

Chlorine chemistry is essential to public health. The germ-busting properties of chlorine disinfectants help provide safe drinking water and sanitation, clean swimming pools, and safe food production.

Safe Drinking Water

Before cities began routinely treating drinking water, including disinfecting it with chlorine-based disinfectants, thousands perished every year from waterborne scourges such as cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and hepatitis A. Today, worldwide, significant strides in public health and the quality of life are directly linked to the widespread adoption of drinking water chlorination.

Chlorine chemistry is essential to safe drinking water. It destroys pathogens in the water supply and provides residual disinfection throughout the water distribution network. Other disinfectants such as ozone or UV light cannot provide residual disinfection, making chlorination a key component in safe drinking water systems.

Learn more about chlorine’s use in drinking water with this FAQ.

Wastewater Treatment

Wastewater may be defined as the flow of used water from a community. It includes all that drains from the kitchen sink, tub, toilet, shower, and laundry, and from various industrial and commercial sources. Wastewater treatment, including the wide use of chlorine disinfectants, is an important public health measure that helps protect us from exposure to harmful germs after treated “used water” is returned to waterways.

Food Contact Surfaces

Bacteria can survive on food contact surfaces for hours or even days at a time. Contaminated surfaces may harbor pathogens that can then cross-contaminate other foods. The goal of disinfection is to destroy germs. After cleaning food contact surfaces, such as the kitchen counter, it is important to disinfect with an effective product. Daycare centres, hospitals, restaurants, and public facilities of all kinds rely upon the disinfectant qualities of chlorine-based disinfectants to help keep the local environment pathogen-free and safe for everyone.

Healthy Pools

Nothing refreshes like a dip in the pool on a hot summer day. Swimming pools provide fun, exercise, and welcome relief from high temperatures. Spas and hot tubs are increasingly popular for the therapeutic relaxation they provide. But unless water disinfectant levels are properly managed, a dip in the pool or spa can result in illness such as diarrhea, “swimmers’ ear,” skin rashes, and fungal infections including athlete’s foot.

Used properly, chlorine-based pool and spa disinfectants help keep our recreational waters safe by destroying the waterborne pathogens that can ruin our pool and spa experiences.