Chlorine is the eleventh most common element in the earth’s crust (0.045% of which is chlorine) and is found extensively in nature. Scientists have identified over 2,400 chlorine-based compounds. These are produced naturally as a result of chlorine reacting with various organic compounds existing in the environment. Some of them have antibacterial and anticarcinogenic properties. The main natural sources of organochlorinated compounds are the oceans (almost 3% of which consist of chlorine), forest fires and mycotic activity.
Animal life itself depends on chlorine and its ability to react with other elements. Human blood, skin and teeth all contain chlorine and even leucocytes, or white blood corpuscles, need it to fight off infection.
Chlorine performs a dual function in maintaining people’s quality of life. On the one hand, it is essential for treating water to make it fit for human consumption and for preventing and combating infectious diseases. On the other hand, it is a basic raw material in manufacturing many of the products we use in our everyday lives.