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Judith Nordgren
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Here is how chlorine chemistry plays a key role in American innovation and job creation:

  • Chlorine-related  industries supply over 245,000 U.S. jobs.
  • Chlorine-related industry employees earn a total of more than $14.4 billion in wages each year.
  • Roughly ½ of the products of the chemistry industry depend on chlorine chemistry.
  • Chlorine chemistry is relied upon in more than 85% of water treatment plants in the United States and Canada. No chlorine-free water treatment technologies provide the residual disinfectant properties of chlorine. Without the protection of residual levels of chlorine, waterborne pathogens could recontaminate water as it flows to points of use.  
  • Chlorine is used to manufacture PVC. PVC piping systems have provided superior performance, with breakage rates as low as 1% of the breakage rates of cast and ductile iron systems. Longer life, lower maintenance, ease of installation, and reliability in service are the primary reasons for PVC pipe prominence. According to research at Utah State University’s Buried Structures Laboratory, PVC pipe can be expected to provide reliable service in excess of 100 years.
  • Silicon, purified with chlorine chemistry, is at the heart of electronic communication and information technology. Silica glass, purified with chlorine chemistry provides fiber optic communication for long-distance communication, and silicones provide low-cost elastomers and resins.
  • Chlorine chemistry is involved in the manufacture 89% of the top-selling crop protection products. Crop protection chemicals made with chlorine chemistry reduce crop loss and soil erosion, helping to produce an abundant harvest for US and Canadian consumers.
  • In the absence of chlorine chemistry, consumers would have to substitute alternative materials for 96% of the polyurethane-based products they currently use.
  • Fluorocarbons are essential for refrigeration and air-conditioning, polymer production, foam-blowing agents, aerosol propellants, and solvent cleaning and degreasing. 40 million units per year of new household and commercial refrigeration and mobile and stationary air-conditioning systems would have to use alternative refrigerants without chlorine. 
  • All titanium metal production and 99% of the United States and Canadian capacity for TiO2 is based on chlorine chemistry. Titanium metal is light, strong and corrosion-resistant, used for products from artificial hip joints to aircraft engines. Titanium dioxide is an incredibly versatile and ubiquitous substance used in paints, coatings, plastics, foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
  • Chlorine-containing disinfectants are effective in the destruction of most viruses and other hard-to-kill pathogens, like the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile, and have seen recent usage growth in response to outbreaks of Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), avian influenza (bird flu), and influenza H1N1 (swine flu). 
  • Chlorine chemistry is widely used in the production of top-selling pharmaceutical products – 25% of these drugs contain chlorine in the dose form and over 60% of them use chlorine chemistry in the manufacturing process. Pharmaceuticals that rely on chlorine chemistry for their manufacture include treatments for cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders, metabolism, respiratory and anti-infective medications, and much more.
  • Chlorine chemistry currently is used in the manufacture of at least 88% of the top-selling prescription pharmaceuticals currently sold in the United States and Canada.

A recent economic analysis found that chlor-alkali chemistry in various applications saves U.S. and Canadian consumers over $421.5 billion every year:

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The business of chemistry provides 811,000 skilled, good-paying American jobs—earning 44 percent more than the average manufacturing pay.

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