Is consumption of chlorine harmful to bones ?

I know fluorine consumed with water can cause fluorosis to bones and joints.

Can chlorine, a similar halogen like fluorine, also cause damage to bones and bone joints?


closed as off-topic by paracetamol, bon, Jon Custer, A.K., Ben Norris Jun 12 '17 at 2:33

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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about chlorine gas or the chlorine ion? $\endgroup$ – CoffeeIsLife Jun 3 '17 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ pure-earth.com/chlorine.html $\endgroup$ – Mockingbird Jun 3 '17 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ Most probably chloride @Quantum $\endgroup$ – Pritt says Reinstate Monica Jun 3 '17 at 11:49
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because its more about medicine than chemistry. $\endgroup$ – porphyrin Jun 3 '17 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the OP wishes to know the medical complications associated with the "consumption of chlorine". I second what @porphyrin said: This question is better suited on the Health.SE. $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Jun 11 '17 at 6:45

The OP uses the terms chlorine and fluorine. In the context of the question, fluorine doesn't make sense and it is assumed here that the the OP means fluoride. In the case of chlorine, it is likely, though not certain, that the OP means chloride. This answer will address the question primarily in terms of fluoride and chloride, with a note about chlorine.

Bones are largely composed of calcium compounds (mainly hydroxyapetite, $\ce{Ca5(PO4)3(OH)}$). The calcium salts of bone are very slightly soluble, and thus they are in an equilibrium between the solid form and the dissolved aqueous form. Because calcium fluoride is extremely insoluble, fluoride can displace the naturally occurring anions to form water-insoluble calcium fluoride. This results in weaker, more easily fractured bones, which is the condition known as skeletal fluorosis.

Calcium chloride is about five orders of magnitude more water soluble than is calcium fluoride, so an analogous displacement of the naturally occuring anions in bone by chloride does not take place. Thus the ingestion of chloride has no negative effect on bone material. The same is true of chlorine, in the case of chlorinated water, as there is no mechanism by which chlorine can be ingested (or inhaled), metabolized and then interfere with bone composition.


The key point is that fluorine is a cumulative poison which accumulates predominantly in bone, unlike chlorine. Using the word "fluorine" does make sense, because fluorine is a general term for any atom with nine protons, including its ionic form, fluoride. When fluorine accumulates in bone it forms fluorapatite, not calcium fluoride.


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