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Staying Healthy by Knowing Your Viruses

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.

New WCC Manufacturing Process publication

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.

New Water for Life publication

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.

WCC to hold online Safety Seminar 2021

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.

New ‘trees’ highlight the many uses of chlorine and caustic soda/potash

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.

Valuing Safe Water on World Water Day and Every Day

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.

Chlorine Institute hosted several Spanish language webinars

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.

Euro Chlor illustrates potential of chlor-alkali sector as green hydrogen producer

Hydrogen is an important chemical for the climate neutral economy. Currently Europe is defining screening criteria for hydrogen but does not yet consider chlor-alkali electrolysis – a green process.  
The European chlor-alkali sector produces some 0.27 million tonnes of hydrogen as a by-product of the highest purity. For this, chlor-alkali electrolysers use less electricity and emit less CO2 to produce 1kg of hydrogen than water electrolysis. Euro Chlor has developed this illustrative infographic to highlight the potential of the chlor-alkali sector as a green hydrogen producer for Europe. 

Learn more about hydrogen from European chlor-alkali production.

Successful WCC online Safety Seminar on 17-18 November

On 17-18 November, the WCC Global Safety Team held its online Safety Seminar. The seminar contained several presentations from the members. In total, around 80 people from all global regions attended one or both events.

The Seminar included topics such as Jack Rabbit and the effect on the modelling of chlorine releases, the WCC Cardinal rules, accidental mixing, lessons learned, etc. The presentations have been sent to the participants in addition to the recordings from the sessions for onward distribution to those who could not attend. If you are interested in the topics presented, please send an email to Ton Manders, Euro Chlor Technical & Safety Director.

New report shows how global chlor-alkali activities help to meet Sustainable Development Goals

Chlor-alkali chemistry is essential to help achieve many of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs are at the heart of global efforts to build a better world for people and our planet by 2030. Adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, the SDGs are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity whilst protecting the environment. As such, the World Chlorine Council (WCC), has prepared a new report that details how its members, and chlor-alkali chemistry in general, help to meet these important targets.

The new report discusses which SDGs are supported by chlor-alkali (chlorine and caustic soda/ potash) chemistry and is available from the WCC website. Further details can also be found at https://worldchlorine.org/sustainability/.

The WCC brings chlor-alkali experts together from around the globe to discuss, partner, and further global progress toward sustainability and achieve the SDGs, among many other topics.

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