Issue Date: February 11, 2008
'Keeping Water Pure'
The first sentence in this article, "Bleach is safer than chlorine, but bleach is also made from chlorine," pretty much sums up the conundrum of switching from liquid Cl2 to sodium hypochlorite solution (C&EN, Dec. 10, 2007, page 20).
Even if all consumers of liquid Cl2 who could switch to chlorine bleach did make the change, there would still be approximately 100 old-fashioned bleach-making facilities in North America that bring in full railcars of liquid chlorine, along with railcars of 50% sodium hydroxide, to make the chlorine bleach that these consumers now use.
Most of these bleach-making facilities are located in populated areas and more than a few are located within major cities. It is these latter companies that should most certainly be required to vertically integrate and construct inherently safer brine-to-bleach plants. For those bleach-makers that are unable or unwilling to do so, plant closure is an option.
Charles F. Heimerdinger
Clifton Park, N.Y.
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