The chemical element chlorine is a corrosive, poisonous,
greenish-yellow gas that has a suffocating odor and is 2 1/2
times heavier than air. Chlorine belongs to the group of
elements called halogens. The halogens combine with metals to
form compounds called halides. Chlorine is manufactured
commercially by running an electric current through salt
water. This process produces free chlorine, hydrogen, and
sodium hydroxide. Chlorine is changed to its liquid form by
compressing the gas, the resulting liquid is then shipped.
Liquid chlorine is mixed into drinking water and swimming
pools to destroy bacteria.
The chlorine used to reduce the risk of infectious disease may
account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk
associated with drinking water. These concerns about cancer
risks associated with chemical contamination from chlorination
byproducts have resulted in numerous epidemiological studies.
These studies generally support the notion that byproducts of
chlorination are associated with increased cancer risks.
Chlorine is used to combat microbial contamination, but it can
react with organic matter in the water and form dangerous,
carcinogenic Trihalomethanes. According to Dr. Joseph M.
Price, MD, in Moseby's Medical Dictionary, "Chlorine is the
greatest crippler and killer of modern times. It is an
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