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Chlorine Information

Americans rely on chlorine every day to give them safe water. The practice of drinking water chlorination is one of the most significant public health advances of the 20th century. This is evidenced by the virtual absence of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, dysentery and cholera in the United States. Our quality of life depends on the assumption that when we turn on the faucet, we receive clean and safe water.

After its initial introduction in 1908 in New Jersey, chlorine was adopted as a disinfectant by most water treatment plants in the United States and Canada. More than 200 million Americans and Canadians receive chlorine-disinfected drinking water everyday. Over 98% of water treatment facilities in the U. S. treat their water supplies with chlorine and chlorine-based chemicals. Water supply systems use chlorine because of its germicidal potency, economy and efficiency. In addition, only chlorine-based disinfectants have lasting residual properties which prohibit microbial regrowth and provide continual protection throughout distribution from the treatment plant to the tap.

Many Uses and Benefits

Chlorine does much more than most people realize. Because of its ability to combine and react with other elements and compounds, chlorine is a key building block of modern life. Chlorine does much more than kill microorganisms in the nation's water supply.
Chlorine also:

  • removes unpleasant tastes and odors that come from algae and decaying natural vegetation in source waters
  • keeps water pipes and filters clean
  • eliminates or reduces organic coloration
  • destroys hydrogen sulfide and removes ammonia and other compounds that have unpleasant tastes and impede disinfection
  • occurs naturally in our blood, skin and teeth. It plays a vital role in our digestive process in the form of hydrochloric acid and enable white blood cells to fight off infections.