|Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Humphry Davy elements|
- Carl Wilhelm Scheele was the first to isolate its gas
- but he thought it was oxidized hydrochloric acid,
- which he called “dephlogisticated muriatic acid.”
- Thirty-six years later, Humphry Davy
- showed it contained no oxygen, and was, in fact,
- a new element, which he called “chlorine.”
The meaning of oxygen
- Scheele thought his “dephlogisticated muriatic acid”
- was dephlogisticated because it acted as an acid.
- Antoine Lavoisier had taught that acids had to be dephlogisticated,
- that is, that oxygen was the principle that made things acidic.
- Sodium chlorine, common salt,
- as necessary for human life as water.
- Chlorine or chloramine as a disinfectant
- in our water supplies
- at four parts per million, ideally,
- except as a shock treatment at forty,
- in swimming pools at three, typically,
- not to exceed ten, legally,
- killing algae, bacteria, viruses,
- and creatures in aquariums.
- reacting with urine to produce volatile toxins
- damaging lungs, hearts, and central nervous systems
- although water without a disinfectant
- damages more, killing people.
- Extremely toxic to all living things,
- elemental chlorine gas was the first chemical weapon
- causing coughing and vomiting
- at thirty parts per million
- and lung damage at sixty parts per million.
- I don’t think I like it, or the thought of it,
- in this escalating war of invisible agents
- both friends and foes offend.
- Our defenses are inadequate.
- Too much, too many, too often,
- too close, too far, too weak, too strong,
- too soon, too late, and too unfair.