Chlorine kills bacteria – it is a disinfectant. It is used to treat drinking water and swimming pool water:
- Improvements in and relating to the sterilization of water by means of chlorine (1930), and
- Disinfecting Water With Chlorine Or A Chlorine-Compound In A Sealed Chamber (1995).
It is also used to make hundreds of consumer products from paper to paints, and from textiles to insecticides.
About 20% of chlorine produced is used to make PVC (Production Of Vinyl Chlorine Polymers (1955)). This is a very versatile plastic used in window frames, car interiors, electrical wiring insulation, water pipes, blood bags and vinyl flooring.
Another major use for chlorine is in organic chemistry. It is used as an oxidising agent and in substitution reactions. 85% of pharmaceuticals use chlorine or its compounds at some stage in their manufacture.
In the past chlorine was commonly used to make chloroform (an anaesthetic) and carbon tetrachloride (a dry-cleaning solvent): Chlorolysis of organo bromine cpds – to carbon tetrachloride and elementary bromine by reaction with chlorine at elevated temp. and pressure (1976).