“We, the Member Societies of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS), deplore the use of chlorine in the Syrian conflict or any other and call upon the international community to bring to justice those responsible for the misuse of chlorine.”
It was with these very concrete words that 36 Chemical Societies in Europe deplored the use of Chemical weapons in Syria and called for the misusers of chlorine to be brought to justice.
After the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2012, Syria signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and their stockpiles of chemical weapons were removed for destruction. However, chlorine is still being used in the conflict as a chemical weapon. Chlorine has many benign uses and saves billions of lives every year because it is used, for instance, to ensure water supplies are free of pathogens. It is also used as a bleach and in making a variety of household chemicals. Nevertheless, some stocks of chlorine that are kept for benign purposes have been hijacked for use in warfare. If chlorine is breathed in, it attacks the mucous membranes and respiratory system because it forms hydrochloric and hypochlorous acids on contact with water. This causes blistering, great difficulties with breathing and intense pain. It is essential that everyone who uses chlorine for benign purposes should keep their supplies in secure sites where they cannot be taken for use in warfare.