Nowadays the industrial and technological progress facilitates consistently human life, but, on the other hand, it creates new threats to the health and life of people as well as to the environment. In this respect, chemical industry is particularly dangerous because the use of modern chemicals, being a constituent part of the production process, may threaten to the environment and people. Moreover, at the present moment, hazardous chemicals are used in different industry and they may be present in households. In such a situation, the threat of some accidents involving chemicals may be very harmful for people and environment.
Among the most dangerous and widely spread chemicals it is possible to name chlorine, which is very destructible for both people and their environment. At the same time, it is one of the major chemical elements that used in different fields and people are practically constantly imposed to the threat of its negative impact in case of some accident.
The chlorine threat
Speaking about the chlorine threat, it is necessary to point out that this threat is very serious and it is impossible to estimate that some areas are more exposed to this threat than others. The wide use of chlorine leads to its wide spread and the IUB area is not an exception in this regard because chlorine is one of the essential chemical elements that is used daily in different fields and people are often unconscious that they may come in contact with this chemical. At the same, it is necessary to point out that this chemical is very dangerous to human health as well as environment. It is worthy of mention the fact that many specialists insist on the necessity of the ban of the use of chlorine (CFPA). The main argument for the ban of chlorine is its negative impact on human health and the potential danger this chemical may expose the environment to in case of an accident. Specialists argue that even in small quantities chlorine may be dangerous to human health, while in case of an accident the impact of chlorine may be lethal to humans (CFPA). At the same time, people cannot be absolutely secure in their household because chlorine may be used in household too that is also a potential threat to human health (Household Chemical Emergency).
In this respect, it should be said basically chlorine is used for the disinfection of water and it is basically applied to disinfection swimming pools, though it is also used for the filtration and disinfection of waste waters. For instance, Borough of Indiana plant uses this chemical in the process of disinfection of the plant (Borough of Indiana). Naturally, this means that this chemical is stored on the plant and potentially this may cause an accident if this chemical is not stored in accordance with the existing norms and standards. Also, chlorine may cause serious health problems if it is not properly used in the process of disinfection of swimming pools water that may affect people that are directly involved in this process or that have access to this pool.
On the other hand, it is not only storage or misuse of chlorine that may cause an accident or produce a negative impact on human health and environment, but it is also necessary to remember about the possibility of an accident during the transportation of the chemical. In this respect, it is possible to mention the chlorine release in Glendale, Arizona during a rail car unloading operation (DPC Enterprise Chlorine Release). Such an accident could occur everywhere, including the IUB area.
The vulnerability of people to the threat
In such a situation, it is obvious that potentially practically all people may be exposed to the threat of the release of chlorine and its impact on their health. At the same time, it should be said that the effect of chlorine on human health may be extremely negative. Potentially, it may result in the death of people that are exposed to the impact of chlorine. Basically, chlorine affects the respiratory system of human body, though it also affects other organs, especially eyes. This is why people need to be protected from the impact of this chemical element, otherwise, they may have serious health problems or even die. In addition, chlorine produce a negative impact on the environment too because it change the gas balance in atmosphere destroying plants and killing animals that are affected by chlorine.
Speaking about the number of people and area that may be affected by chlorine threat, it should be said that it totally depends on the scale of the accident. To put it more precisely, it may be an accident with the misuse of chlorine during the disinfection of the water in a swimming pool that will affect only people that are directly involved in the procedure of disinfection or who used the swimming pool. On the other hand, it may be an accident on the plant leading to the release of chlorine that will affect not only the plant and its personnel but also nearby areas affecting all people living nearby, while the accident during transportation may occur anywhere and anytime affecting the nearby territory. It is also necessary to take into consideration such factors as wind, for instance, which can spread chlorine in certain direction and the stronger is the wind the further the chemical will be spread.
The plan of actions
Obviously, in the case of accident involving chlorine, it is necessary to start actions immediately. However, it is extremely to strictly follow the existing norms, standards, and regulations concerning the storage, transportation, and use of chlorine because it is much easier to prevent the disaster than cope with its consequences. In this respect, it should be said that people should be informed about the potential threat and they should be prepared for the accident. It is important that the area and even individual households had special rooms or facilities where people could be secured and protected from the negative impact of chlorine.
Nevertheless, if the accident occurs, it is primarily necessary to inform people about the accident. In this regard, the signal system developed in the IUB may be very effective because the use of sirens may immediately inform people about the potential threat (Monroe County). As soon as people receive the information or are warned about the threat they should get into the specially prepared facilities where they could be protected from the negative impact of chlorine. However, if such special facilities are not available, people should stay indoors and close all doors, windows in order to prevent the access of chlorine into their houses. It is recommended to move to the highest point in the house and the less windows and doors there is in the room the better because the access of chlorine will be minimal. It is also possible to cover doors and windows with blanket, which could be an extra protection from the possible penetration of chlorine. Ideally, it is recommended to have a gas mask at hand. Finally, it is necessary to stay at a secure place as long as the accident and its effects are not eliminated.
Thus, it is obvious that it is necessary to get prepared to possible accident involving chlorine because this chemical element is very dangerous and, at the same time, it is extremely widely spread. It is really difficult to predict when an accident can occur, but it is necessary to have a clear plan of actions in order to respond to the accident effectively.
Borough of Indiana. 2005. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from <http://www.rtknet.org/rmp/sum7/PA/fac100000062102>
CFPA’s Design Contest Draws Big Winners. 1998. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from <http://www.chlorinefreeproducts.org/cfpatoday/cfpatodaysummer98.htm>
DPC Enterprises Chlorine Release. 2006. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from <http://tcattorney.typepad.com/wrongfuldeath/dpc_enterprises_chlorine_gas_release/index.html>
Household Chemical Emergency. 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from <http://www.fema.gov/hazard/chemical/index.shtm>
Monroe County, Indiana University and Local Governments Receive Statewide Award. 2002. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from <http://www.iub.edu/~uconnect/news/award.shtml>