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Porphyria Educational Services



PORPHYRIA EDUCATIONAL SERVICES Bulletin Vol. 1 No. 33                                   
August 15, 1999   Focus:  Chemical Toxins and Chlorine


Chlorine is everywhere.  And furthermore chlorine is essential. However for most porphyrics chlorine is considered a chemical toxin which can and does trigger acute porphyria attacks from time to time.

In the world of medicine where porphyric patients find themselves so often, chlorine is lurking just about everywhere. This includes even the medications that most people take commonly and even on a daily basis.

One common drug is acetaminophen.  Others include antibiotics. Chlorine is a biggie in anti-cancer drugs including cisplatin, and mintotane.

Other drugs containing chlorine  include xanax, vancomycin, lorabid, ceclor, benedryl,chlor-trimeton.

In addition, almost one-third of central nervous system drugs contain chlorine, and 98 percent of gastrointestinal medications are made using chlorine.

At the same time chlorine is what makes our tap water safe and keeps our "whites white" during laundry.

Chlorinated compounds are essential to the development of potent new drug therapies. Of the nearly 400 new drugs approved for therapeutic use in humans since 1984, more than 60 are chlorinated compounds, and many others use chlorine's unique chemical properties in their production.

In the medical world chlorine does not just stop with the pharmaceuticals.Chlorine is essential to a wide variety of medical equipment. An estimated one-fourth of all medical devices in hospitals contain chlorine, ranging from some of the most commonly used to some of the most specialized and advanced.

X-ray and mammography films are made with silver chloride. Chlorine also is a basic building block in the silicon used to make the semiconductors upon which many electronic medical devices depend. And surgical sutures, artificial blood vessels, and osmotic membranes are all made with nylon, a product made using chlorine chemistry.

Chlorine-based plastics also are widely used in medical devices and equipment. Of the 14 families of plastics made using chlorine, the most common is polyvinyl chloride, a plastic known for being light, easy to bend and shape, and inexpensive.

As a porphyric if your are super sensitivity to chemical toxins including chloride be aware that the IV and blood bags are made of chloride. Same with the oxygen tents and even prescription eyewear.

Chlorine-based vinyl packaging also adds to the safety of medicine. Many pharmaceuticals also are supplied in vinyl packaging -- such as the "blister" packs that help extend the shelf life of tablets and capsules and make it easier for patients to take the proper dosage.

Much of the aforementioned is safe for porphyrics howeverif contact is limited.  What is neeeded to be mindful of is thechlorination of drinking water, and especially chlorinated waterin swimming pools.  This has always been a problem for the general populous and with porphyrics it is even more so.

Skin irritation is a great concern for porphyrics with the cutaneous manifestations.  However AIP also can be affected bychlorine.