Chlorine is often associated with pools, as it’s used to sanitize the water and keep it safe to swim in. This is the most common method of exposure. People are also exposed to chlorine with common household cleaning products. Those exposures are typically small and have no ill effects. But when chlorine gas poisoning occurs and someone is exposed to high doses, ill-effects are a real and dangerous possibility.
There are a number of ways chlorine gas poisoning can happen, and many of them involve negligent actions. If you’ve been wrongfully exposed to high levels of chlorine and suffered injuries as a result, our chlorine gas poisoning lawyers are prepared to build a strong case on your behalf and help you get the compensation you need to cover your losses.
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What Is Chlorine Gas?
Chlorine is a chemical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the most commonly manufactured chemicals in the United States. While its most important use is as a bleach in products like paper and cloth, it also inhibits the growth of bacteria in water. Because of this, it’s used in drinking water, swimming pools, and industrial waste and sewage plants.
Chlorine is sometimes in the form of a poisonous gas. This gas can be pressurized and cooled, which turns it into a liquid. For industry purposes, this makes it easy to ship and store the chemical. When the liquid is released, it quickly turns back into a gas. Because of its properties, it spreads quickly and stays low to the ground.
When chlorine poisoning occurs, the extent depends on the amount of chlorine, how the exposure happened, and how long the exposure lasted. When the gas comes into contact with someone’s eyes, throat, lungs, or other moist tissues, tissue damage is possible.
How Exposure to Chlorine Happens
Chlorine is not flammable, but it can become unstable and even explosive when mixed with other chemicals. Workers can be exposed to massive amounts of chlorine when accidents happen with plant pesticides, railways, and other dangerous industries. The average person is most likely to be exposed to chlorine in its liquid form if it’s released into a water source or if it comes into contact with food.
When inhaled or ingested, chlorine can be deadly. If, for example, extremely high levels of chlorine are in a swimming pool, gas can be released off the surface. Swimmers could experience severe skin burns or chlorine poisoning.
Chlorine gas has a pungent odor, similar to strong bleach. The smell alone may provide a warning to individuals nearby that something isn’t right, but sometimes there isn’t enough time to leave the exposed area fast enough. Gas exposure happens through inhalation, skin contact, and eye contact.
Regardless of how your exposure occurred, if you believe it should have been prevented, a chlorine gas poisoning lawyer can help you hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.
Signs and Symptoms of Chlorine Gas Poisoning
Chlorine gas poisoning can quickly result in signs and symptoms that require medical attention. During exposure or immediately after contact with a dangerous concentration of chlorine, the following symptoms can develop:
- Burning sensation in eyes, nose, and throat
- Blurred vision
- Chest tightness
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Redness, burning pain, and blisters on the skin
Once the chlorine is out of the person’s systems, the symptoms subside. But there is the chance for long-term health effects. This typically only happens in people who have breathed in a high concentration of chlorine and suffered from pulmonary edema, which is the term for fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema patients typically cope with coughing, chest pain, and fatigue.
What to Do If Exposed to Chlorine Gas
In order to reduce the symptoms of chlorine gas poisoning after exposure, there are a number of steps you should take. First, it’s crucial to leave the area as soon as possible and get fresh air. If the chlorine was released indoors, get outside. If it was released outdoors, find the highest ground possible. Because chlorine is heavier than air, it stays near the ground.
After you’ve removed yourself from the area, you’ll want to quickly remove your clothing. If liquid chlorine is on your clothes, you’ll want to cut them off instead of pulling anything over your head. If possible, seal the clothes in a plastic bag. When emergency services arrive, inform them of where the bag is and allow them to remove it safely.
Once your clothing has been removed, it’s important to wash your body with large amounts of water and soap. This will protect you from possible burns. If your eyes are burning or your vision is blurred, you’ll want to rinse your eyes for 10 to 15 minutes. Dispose of contacts prior to rinsing if you wear them.
While there is no antidote for chlorine gas poisoning, seeking medical attention will ensure you have no side effects after the chemical is out of your body.
After you’ve taken care of your medical needs, you’ll want to evaluate your situation and determine if hiring a lawyer is your next step.
Seek Legal Representation from Thomas Law Offices Today
At Thomas Law Offices, our chlorine gas poisoning lawyers understand that not every litigious issue is easy to resolve. When toxic chemicals are involved, determine fault can be challenging. If you’ve suffered injuries from chlorine gas poisoning because of someone else’s negligence, you may be owed compensation to aid in your recovery.
No matter what your injuries, hospital bills can be expensive. Your situation may become even more difficult if you have to take time off work to recover. Filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party is the first step in ensuring you can recover in peace without any financial trouble. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, you may be eligible for economic and noneconomic damages. The former refers to the calculable costs like medical expenses and lost wages. The latter refers to the pain and suffering you wrongfully endured.
Filing a chlorine gas poisoning claim takes time. That’s why it’s important to start working with a reputable lawyer as soon as possible. The more time you have to build a strong case, the better the outcome will be. To learn more about your legal rights and options, schedule a consultation with our attorneys today.