Evacuations underway in Rutherford County due to truck with chlorine burning
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. — Several hundred people in Rutherford County have been evacuated after a semi crashed with hazardous chemicals on board.
The crash involved two trucks on I-24 at mile marker 7.
The burning truck is carrying chlorine pool tablets.
Some residents are asked to shelter in place by keeping all doors and windows closed and turning off HVAC units.
Both drivers have been taken to the hospital.
Health effects of chlorine
Chlorine is a highly reactive gas. It is a naturally occurring element. The largest users of chlorine are companies that make ethylene dichloride and other chlorinated solvents, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorofluorocarbons, and propylene oxide. Paper companies use chlorine to bleach paper. Water and wastewater treatment plants use chlorine to reduce water levels of microrganisms that can spread disease to humans (disinfection).
Exposure to chlorine can occur in the workplace or in the environment following releases to air, water, or land. People who use laundry bleach and swimming pool chemicals containing chlorine products are usually not exposed to chlorine itself. Chlorine is generally found only in industrial settings.
Chlorine enters the body breathed in with contaminated air or when consumed with contaminated food or water. It does not remain in the body, due to its reactivity.
Effects of chlorine on human health depend on how the amount of chlorine that is present, and the length and frequency of exposure. Effects also depend on the health of a person or condition of the environment when exposure occurs.
Breathing small amounts of chlorine for short periods of time adversely affects the human respiratory system. Effects differ from coughing and chest pain, to water retention in the lungs. Chlorine irritates the skin, the eyes, and the respiratory system. These effects are not likely to occur at levels of chlorine that are normally found in the environment.
Human health effects associated with breathing or otherwise consuming small amounts of chlorine over long periods of time are not known. Some studies show that workers develop adverse effects from repeat inhalation exposure to chlorine, but others will not.