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Bleach (also known as chlorine bleach, Javelle Water or sodium hypochlorite) is vital in keeping our homes and communities clean. It also helps to disinfect and has a role in protecting us against the neagative health effects of many common bacteria and viruses.
However, it must be used responsibly and always under the direction provided on the label of the bottle it comes in.
Further, due to its chemistry, it is most safely mixed only with water and should never be mixed with other products such as ammonia, acids, alcohols, peroxide and some fuels and oils. Accidental mixing of these products can release gases which, if you breathe these gases in, may mean that you will need medical attention.
On 9 and 10 November, the World Chlorine Council (WCC) held its online Safety seminar with around 80 participants joining from all global regions. The event included presentations from regional associations and also from company members from around the world. Planning has already begun for the 2022 WCC Safety Seminar, which will hopefully be a face-to-face meeting.
More information on this event will be available from WCC soon.
How much do you value toilets? Like freely flowing clean drinking water, most people in the developed world enjoy ready access to the convenience and safety of reliable household toilets. But an estimated 3.6 billion people — nearly half the world’s population — are not so fortunate. This World Toilet Day 2021 (19 November), the United Nations is raising awareness of the value of the toilet. Toilets are essential to achieving U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #6, which includes extending safely managed sanitation services worldwide by 2030. And good sanitation services include the use of good chemistry.
A reliable toilet may be (i) one that is connected through a series of pipes to a treatment facility, (ii) one that is on a “septic system” in which waste is stored on site to be periodically emptied and treated elsewhere, or (iii) one that either treats or disposes of wastes onsite. Anything less can be a threat to human and environmental health. Open defecation, practiced by almost half a billion people around the world, is a particular health and safety risk, especially for girls and women.
Chlorine chemistry helps provide dependable sanitation services throughout the world in two important ways. Chlorine-based disinfectants are used to destroy disease-causing microorganisms in human waste. This disinfection technology is “scalable” and can be used to treat waste where it is generated or more centrally at wastewater facilities. Additionally, chlorine chemistry is used to manufacture lightweight, durable PVC piping for sanitation infrastructure. These pipes safely convey contaminated wastes away from communities, helping to ensure public and environmental health.
How much do you value toilets? The not-so-humble toilet contributes to public health, safety and human dignity—no small contribution to the world community.
As the global community struggles with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, expert advice on battling the virus is becoming more and more deeply entrenched in our collective psyche. This includes guidance based on ongoing scientific research. For example, we now know that the culprit virus, SARS-CoV-2, is chiefly transmitted through the air, highlighting the importance of indoor ventilation. The likelihood of spreading COVID-19 from contact with contaminated surfaces has been downplayed, reducing the emphasis on disinfecting surfaces. Significantly, vaccination, social distancing, handwashing, hand sanitiser, and mask use continue to play an important role in our fight against the virus. But with societal contact expanding, it is important to remember that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not the only viral enemy in our midst.
Consider the highly contagious norovirus, the “winter vomiting bug,” for which no vaccine currently exists. Like COVID-19, norovirus is spread through close contact with infected individuals. Unlike COVID-19, contact with contaminated surfaces is a significant route of transmission of norovirus. Disinfectants such as dilute chlorine bleach solutions are highly effective in destroying norovirus on surfaces. Further, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that alcohol-based hand sanitiser is not an effective substitute for handwashing to help prevent norovirus. And although mask use can be effective in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask is less useful in the fight against gastrointestinal infections such as norovirus.
In short, neither norovirus nor many of the other pathogens to which we are exposed necessarily “play by the rules” of SARS-CoV-2. It pays to conduct a brief “background check” on common viruses, especially those involved in ongoing outbreaks, to identify the best ways to limit your exposure and protect your loved ones. Widely promoted strategies for avoiding COVID-19 have undoubtedly prevented a great deal of that disease around the world. That said, as we resume normal activities, let’s recognise that each virus we confront may present unique challenges.
The World Chlorine Council has collected informative posters on how to disinfect to prevent norovirus infections as well as how to clean up in case of ‘accidents’ (metric units) using diluted chlorine bleach. These norovirus prevention and clean-up posters are also available in imperial units.
Only salt, water and electricity are needed to make chlorine, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen for all their important uses.
There are several technologies that can be used to split the raw materials up as detailed in this new information leaflet from the World Chlorine Council (WCC).
Learn more about this important chemistry and the recent changes in the production of chlorine that make it even more sustainable.
Many water-borne illnesses can be fatal and even today, many people around the world still become unwell, or unfortunately die, from drinking or bathing in water contaminated by harmful bacteria and viruses. A key tool in combatting these microorganisms is by disinfecting this water with chlorine-based chemistry. A brief history and background of this chemistry is detailed in this new information leaflet from the World Chlorine Council (WCC).
This resource builds on previous WCC publications and adds new information about the role of disinfection in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WCC online Safety Seminar 2021 will be held on 9-10 November 2021 from 12.00-14.00 CET. This seminar will include topics such as the WCC Cardinal rules, hydrogen and nitrogen trichloride safety, small in-situ chlorine production, etc. A detailed programme is available here.
If you are interested in joining, or if you have an interesting topic to be presented, please contact Ton Manders at Euro Chlor.
Euro Chlor (the European chlor-alkali association) has just launched three new trees detailing the many uses of chlorine, caustic soda and caustic potash. In these new interactive tools, you can click on the products, their uses and sectors of uses. This comprehensive scientific and factual resource, available in digital and print format, shows the rich diversity of the chlor-alkali applications and end-products.
Click on the links below to access them or to download and print your own copy.
Each year on the 22nd day of March, the world community highlights a water theme to mark World Water Day. This year’s focus is on valuing water. Good quality and safely delivered drinking water, made possible by the time-tested technologies of filtration and chlorine disinfection, for example, is essential to the growth of healthy and prosperous communities. Universal access to safe drinking water is an integral element of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sadly, according to a 2017 report, an estimated 2.2 billion people around the world lacked safely managed drinking water services. Through the hard work of the world community, that statistic could be vastly improved by better protecting natural water sources and installing adequate treatment infrastructure. It is difficult to assign a value to something so fundamental and life-giving as safe drinking water…until you try to imagine your life without it.
In an effort to expand its emergency response training and outreach, WCC member the Chlorine Institute (CI) hosted several Spanish language webinars over the past six months. In October 2020, CI partnered with TRANSCAER to host the first webinar which drew 122 total attendees from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and other countries. The second CI/TRANSCAER webinar was held in December 2020 and had 246 participants.
CI also partnered with Ferromex, a rail consortium that operates the largest railway in Mexico, and CAWASA (Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association) to host four more Spanish webinars in February and March of 2021. The four webinars trained a combined total of 308 attendees.
All webinars were broken down into a two-part series on “Physical and Chemical Properties of Chlorine” and “Chlorine Emergency Response.” Participants provided nothing but positive feedback. One participant tweeted, “Thank you for the kind invitation, it was a great training event!” CI looks forward to hosting more of these events in the future and continuing to provide this critical training to Spanish speakers everywhere.