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What is Calcium Hypochlorite?

Calcium Hypochlorite is an inorganic compound with the formula Ca(OCl)2  which is predominantly used as a bleaching agent for a variety of applications. This is basically a granular substance which has the Chlorine type odor which is toxic and irritative. The MeSH defines it with the names of Calcium Hypochlorite/ Calcium Oxychlorite/ Chlorinated lime. It is more likely to lose its stability over exposure to air even in the solid form. If it’s been disposed to heat or sunlight, it decomposes rigorously with emission of Chlorine and Chlorine Monoxide.

How Ca(OCl)2 is manufactured? 

There are three main manufacturing methods. 

  • Chlorination of Caustic soda and Lime slurry with subsequent precipitation.
  • Chlorination of Hydrated Lime.
  • Drying process of Calcium Hypochlorite Dihydrate.

Situations where Ca(OCl)2 is useful.

As a fungicide:

Hypochlorite solution reacts with fungal spores, Bacteria and debris and produces Chlorine dioxide gas for sanitization. The typical doses used for fungicidal purposes are 50 -200 ppm of active Chlorine (HOCl) in a diluted phase.  

As a disinfectant:

As described above, basically Calcium Hypochlorite crystals are able to kill the pathogens/ germs that can make people ill. The standard AWWA C651-14 is used for the treatment of water streams with the use of Calcium Hypochlorite to kill the coliform bacteria and other pathogens. According to that disinfection of main water streams is expected to be done by the underground contractors in the waterlines. The proper following of the standard is essential here since the outbreak of chronic diseases and pandemics will be under control if Calcium Hypochlorite is applied as a disinfectant through all potable water streams. The tablet method is the most popular method in water disinfection process in which the tablets are kept in the water main to create a diluted Hypochlorite solution.  Thus, its better to illustrate the standard number of tablets that should be kept in a pipeline of given diameter and length.

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Hazards of Ca(OCl)2

Calcium Hypochlorite is proven to be a major skin and eye irritant and according to the NFPA Hazard classification, it has been highlighted under Health, Fire and Stability hazards. 

According to that under health hazards, inhalation, contact or ingestion on skin and eyes may cause for burns, injuries or even fatalities. Further fire might produce irritative gases as well.

From fire perspective, Calcium Hypochlorite is considered as a fire accelerator. Most of the times, it reacts explosively with spontaneous reactions in which the runoffs would create some explosion risk. Further it was proven that a series of poisonous gases might be resulted when Calcium Hypochlorite is burnt. 

From Carcinogenic view, it has low number of evidences saying that Calcium Hypochlorite is causing Cancer. Specially in Hypochlorite salts , it says that those salts contains very minimum level of carcinogenicity , which is almost negligible.