Chlorine base compounds, also known as chlorine-releasing compounds, are a family of chemicals that release chlorine.[1] They are used to disinfect water, medical equipment, and surface areas.[1] The presence of organic matter can make them less effective.[2] They come as a powder that is mixed with water before use.[1]

Side effects if contact occurs may include skin irritation and chemical burns to the eye.[1] They may also cause corrosion and therefore may require being rinsed off.[2] Specific compounds in this family include sodium hypochlorite, chloramine, halazone, chlorine dioxide, and sodium dichloroisocyanurate.[1][3] They are effective against a wide variety of microorganisms including bacterial spores.[3][2]

Chlorine base compounds first came into use in 1915.[4] They are on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.[5] The wholesale cost in the developing world is about 0.01 to 0.02 USD per 500 mg of the chloramine type.[6] They are used extensively in both the medical and the food industry.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e WHO Model Formulary 2008 (PDF). World Health Organization. 2009. pp. 323–324. ISBN 9789241547659. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Hayes, Richard (2013). Food Microbiology and Hygiene (2 ed.). Springer Science & Business Media. p. 361. ISBN 9781461535461. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. 
  3. ^ a b c Block, Seymour Stanton (2001). Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 1082. ISBN 9780683307405. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. 
  4. ^ Alexander, Martin; Bloom, Barry R.; Hopwood, David A.; Hull, Roger; Iglewski, Barbara H.; Laskin, Allen I.; Oliver, Stephen G.; Schaechter, Moselio; Summers, William C. (2000). Encyclopedia of Microbiology, Four-Volume Set (2 ed.). Academic Press. ISBN 9780080548487. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18. 
  5. ^ "WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (19th List)" (PDF). World Health Organization. April 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016. 
  6. ^ "Chloramine". International Drug Price Indicator Guide. Retrieved 8 December 2016.