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Chlorine Gas and Phosgene (CG)

Chlorine Gas and Phosgene (CG)

Chemical Treatment Guide 1: YELLOW


Chlorine is either a colorless to amber-colored liquid (aqueous chlorine is usually in the form of
hypochlorite [bleach] in variable concentrations) or a greenish-yellow gas (anhydrous) with a
characteristic odor. The liquid hypochlorite solutions are very unstable and react with acids to
release chlorine gas (e.g., bleach mixed with vinegar or a toilet bowl cleaner containing HCl).
Liquefied compressed chlorine gas may produce a cryogenic (freezing) hazard as it is released
into the atmosphere. Clothing that has been soaked in a hypochlorite solution can be a hazard to
rescuers. A chloramine gas may be liberated when a hypochlorite solution (bleach) is mixed with
household ammonia, which may cause injury to the airway.
Phosgene (CG) is a chemical warfare agent. Phosgene gas can be liberated when Freon or
chlorinated compounds (e.g., bleach mixed with ammonia) are heated. Phosgene has similar
effects on the body as chlorine; however, symptoms from phosgene may be delayed for several


Both agents: dyspnea, tachypnea, cough, choking sensation, rhinorrhea, acute or delayed
chemical pneumonia (non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema), ventricular dysrhythmias,
cardiovascular collapse, severe irritation and burns of the mucous membranes and lungs,
headache, dizziness, altered mental status, nausea/vomiting, and severe irritation and burns to the
eyes and skin.

•• Chlorine gas is used in water purification processes at water plants and sewage treatment
plants, as well as in pesticides, refrigerants, and solvents.
•• Hypochlorite solutions are used in cleaning solutions and as disinfectants for water (drinking,
waste, and swimming pools).
•• Phosgene is used in paint removers, dry cleaning fluid, dyes, and pesticides.

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