Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Chlorine (Cl)

Choking Charlie (Pollutant: Chlorine) Air Villain

Chlorine (Cl)

Alias: Choking Charlie

Status: At Large

Description: (Element) Chlorine is a greenish-yellow gas with a suffocating, extremely irritating odor.

Crime: Exposure to chlorine causes burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

Cause: Chlorine is a widely used chemical in the manufacture of a large number of compounds, like plastics, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and synthetic rubber. It is also used for water and wastewater disinfection and bleaching. Swimming pool and spa chemicals may contain chlorine and must be used properly. Mixing chlorine bleach with common household chemicals containing ammonia can cause chlorine and other dangerous gases to be released.