Clorox to stop using chlorine at manufacturing plants
December 1, 2009

The Clorox Company says it's going to start using high-strength bleach instead of chlorine as a raw material for bleach at seven plants in the US. Bleach is made from sodium hypochlorite and water, produced by dosing sodium hydroxide and water with chlorine. (Sodium hypochlorite, by the way, is similar to the calcium hypochlorite found in chlorination tablets used for disinfecting drinking water.) Clorox is undoubtedly making the change in order to reduce its burden of compliance with new safety regulations likely to be imposed soon by the Federal government involving the storage and use of hazardous chemicals like chlorine. Whether Clorox will continue to manufacture bleach through the conventional means at one plant and simply ship the high-strength bleach for dilution to other plants isn't entirely clear, but since the cost of shipping gas and liquid chlorine is likely to continue to rise as new regulations are imposed, the decision to start changing prior to the imposition of new rules will probably end up saving the company money.

Safety recommendation: Any water or wastewater treatment plants using chlorine ought to have toxic-gas detection equipment in place for detecting chlorine leaks.

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last revised December 2009