Chlorine was the first gaseous chemical to be used as a weapon in warfare.

Chlorine dioxide solution
Solution of chlorine dioxide in water. Image credit: Iridos

Chlorine may be currently used to disinfect the world’s swimming pools but during World War I, it was used as a chemical weapon by the Germans. In particular, the German soldiers, aided by the German chemical companies, discharged chlorine at enemy trenches. In small amounts, chlorine can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, throat and lungs. In large amounts, it can kill by asphyxiation.

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