Chlorine base compounds, also known as chlorine-releasing compounds, are a family of chemicals that release chlorine. They are used to disinfect water, medical equipment, and surface areas. The presence of organic matter can make them less effective. They come as a powder that is mixed with water before use.
Side effects if contact occurs may include skin irritation and chemical burns to the eye. They may also cause corrosion and therefore may require being rinsed off. Specific compounds in this family include sodium hypochlorite, chloramine, halazone, chlorine dioxide, and sodium dichloroisocyanurate. They are effective against a wide variety of microorganisms including bacterial spores.
Chlorine base compounds first came into use in 1915. They are on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about 0.01 to 0.02 USD per 500 mg of the chloramine type. They are used extensively in both the medical and the food industry.
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