We all know that water is one of the most essential and crucial component for life to exist in this ecosystem. Being universal solvent water can easily dissolve substances. Some toxic materials and microorganisms can also easily dissolve in it, and the use of such contaminated water would have serious and ill effects on human beings. Drinking contaminated water gives rise to many water-borne diseases such as Cholera, Hepatitis, Typhoid, poliomyelitis. And more serious diseases which can eventually lead to the death of a person. Besides water pollution also affects our ecosystem badly.
Natural water sources are under constant pressure. Being so crucial and necessary for life on this earth, we have to look for ways to safe these water resources and make it pure and reliable to use without causing any harm. Water disinfection is one of such methods. But is it safe to use chlorine as a disinfectant?
Here, in this article, you will get to know whether or not you should use chlorine as a disinfectant.
All About Chlorine:
Chlorine gas was discovered in the thirteenth century. Chlorine is a chemical element which is extremely reactive and is a strong oxidizing agent. It has the highest electron affinity among the elements. The second-lightest of the halogens, chlorine has atomic number 17 and its symbol is Cl. Appearing between fluorine and bromine in the periodic table and have properties in between them. All chlorine present in the earth crust is in the form of ionic compounds including table salt because of its high reactivity. Chlorides salts are abundant because chlorine is extremely reactive to occur in a free state. Chlorine plays an important role in the medical sciences and in chemical industries.
Should Chlorine be used as a Disinfectant:
For disinfection purposes, chlorine is one of the most widely used disinfectants because of it is very effective in the deactivation and killing of pathogenic microorganisms. Chlorine has played an important role in expanding the life-expectancy of humans. Chlorine has been widely used for the deactivation of pathogens in drinking water, swimming pool water and wastewater. All the chlorine species are not equally effective for disinfection purpose. The most effective disinfectant in the chlorine family is Hypochlorous acid (HOCL). It is because of chlorine’s disinfectant properties that we are able to filter the water and also improve the lives of millions of people.
What is chlorination?
The process of adding chlorine or chlorine contains substances in the water to oxidize and disinfect the harmful pathogens present in water is called chlorination. Chlorine was first used as a major disinfectant in the US, in 1908. The liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) or the dry chlorine (calcium hypochlorite) are mostly used for disinfection.
Is Using Chlorine Safe?
Adding the small and calculated amount of chlorine in water does not have any harmful effect on health and also kills the pathogens that are present in the water. However, a high amount of chlorine can be dangerous. 4 milligrams per litre of chlorine in water is considered safe. Chlorine has been proven a very effective disinfectant, especially against viruses and bacteria. Drinking-Water has a very low concentration of chlorine and is absolutely safe. It is necessary to add a sufficient amount of chlorine to meet the chlorine demand and provide disinfection.
Benefits of using chlorine:
Besides being an amazing disinfectant, use of chlorine also offers a number of other benefits.
- Chlorine reduces many unpleasant and disagreeable odours and tastes.
- It also helps to remove iron and manganese which are present in raw water.
- Chlorine removes the chemical compounds that hinder the disinfection of water.
- The slime bacteria and algae, present in water reservoir are also removed by using chlorine.
- Chlorine also helps in other water-treatment processes such as sedimentation and filtration.
- Because of chlorination, there is a proven decrease in diarrheal diseases.
Disadvantages of Chlorine:
Chlorine has been proved as an amazing and effective disinfectant. However, using chlorine can be problematic in some cases.
- Being very reactive, chlorine can react with other naturally occurring organic compounds found in the water supply.
- Chlorine disappears very quickly from water because of its volatile nature.
- The effectiveness of chlorine disinfection is low in turbid water.
- Chlorine solution loses its effectiveness when exposed to at or sunlight.
Use of chlorine in water as a disinfectant is a very safe and reliable process. Chlorination process has been used for many years and it has proved quite effective. Chlorination deactivates the pathogen and makes the water safe to use which reduces the risk of water-borne diseases. The fundamental purpose of water treatment to protect consumers from impurities is greatly achieved by chlorination. But we have to be careful while using chlorine as a disinfectant because it can also have adverse effects in some situations.