What is chlorine?

Chlorine is a mineral that is a member of the halogen group of elements. It is essential for life and mostly present in cell fluid as a negative ion to balance positive potassium ions. It is also present in extra-cellular fluid (such as blood) to balance the positive sodium ions. Chlorine is widely used in everyday products, such as textiles, medicines, food, paints, plastics, paper, and other consumer products. It is of essential use for safe drinking water as well as the production of table salt.


What is the function of chlorine?

Together with sodium, chlorine participates in the regulation of fluids and electrolytes in the body. It is also a key component of gastric juice. Most of the chlorine produced is used in manufacturing chlorinated compounds such as bleach, disinfectants, and textile processing.


Which foods are rich in chlorine?

Chlorine is ingested in the body mainly through table salt (sodium chloride). It is also present in many vegetables, in particular tomatoes, lettuce, celery, algae, rye, and olives.


What is the recommended daily requirement of chlorine?

The recommended daily intake of chlorine varies depending on the individual’s age. The adequate daily intake is:

  • 0.18 g for infants up to 6 months old
  • 0.57 g for infants up to 1 years old
  • 1.5 g for children between ages of 1 and 3
  • 1.9 g for children between the ages of 4 and 8
  • 2.3 g for children between the ages of 9 to 13
  • 2.3 g for individuals between the ages of 14 and 50
  • 2.0 g for elderly individuals between the ages of 51 and 70
  • 1.8 grams for elderly individuals over the ages of 71



What are the consequences of chlorine deficiency?

Chlorine deficiency is rare, though it can occur in instances involving loss of large amounts of fluids due to excessive sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea or due to certain medications such as diuretics.
It can be associated with hypoventilation and chronic respiratory acidosis.


What are the consequences of excessive chlorine intake?

Excessive chlorine intake through food may lead to an increase in blood pressure and in those suffering from heart failure, cirrhosis or kidney disease, it can lead to an accumulation of fluids in the body.Excessive chlorine levels in the blood may also increase blood sugar in individuals suffering from diabetes, and can also affect the transport of oxygen throughout the body.  


How is it possible to recognize chlorine poisoning?

Chlorine poisoning can result from inhalation or ingestion of chlorine through contaminated air or when consumed with contaminated food or water. The effects of the chlorine on human health depend on the amount of chlorine present, the length of time and frequency of the exposure. For every individual, the effects may vary though common symptoms that are triggered generally include breathing difficulties, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, burning of the mouth, swelling in the throat, stomach pain, chest pain, coughing, vomiting and blood in the stool. Chlorine irritates the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory system. These effects are not likely to occur at levels of chlorine that are normally found in the environment.