Chances are that almost every time you take a sip of tap water you’re reaping the benefits of chlorine, a product that has been keeping municipal water supplies safe for more than 80 years.
Prior to the widespread use of chlorine as a disinfectant in water supplies, thousands of Americans suffered each year from a variety of waterborne diseases. Thanks to chlorine in drinking water, diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever have dramatically decreased. Chlorine controls the smell and taste of water and prevents the growth of algae. It also helps preserve the pipelines used to carry water and helps keep the cleaning filters free from dirt. Currently, some 90 percent of our water supplies use chlorine.
While disinfecting water is among its more common uses, chlorine serves as the building block for producing many other chemicals and consumer products. For example, about 85 percent of all pharmaceuticals are made using chlorine. About one-fourth of all medical devices in hospitals are made from chlorine-based products.
More than a quarter of all chlorine is used in the production of vinyl (PVC) and other plastic materials. In construction, vinyl is found in water pipes, house siding, gutters, floor title, electrical wire and cable insulation, window treatments and wall coverings. It is also used in parts for appliances and automobiles and in shower curtains, window shades, garden hoses and credit cards. In the field of medicine, vinyl is used for blood bags, heart catheters and medical tubing.
OxyChem has been safely producing chlorine and other chlorine-based products at its Geismar plant since 1968. Chlorine is produced at OxyChem by passing a powerful electrical current through brine that is pumped to the plant from Louisiana salt domes. This process produces chlorine, hydrogen and caustic soda. Chlorine is reacted with hydrocarbons to produce other chemicals, which are used worldwide to make thousands of products. These chemicals are chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, ethylene dichloride, hydrochloric acid and methyl chloride.
For over 30 years, OxyChem employees have safely manufactured products that benefit our lives with providing jobs and growth to Ascension Parish.
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