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Chlorine: Chemicals industry workhorse

Chlorine is more than just a chemical used in swimming pools. This poisonous green gas is the great enabling element of the chemicals industry, used in creating your clothes, computer chips, medicines and vinyl records.

Justin Rowlatt travels to a chlor-alkali plant in glamorous Essex to discover the brutal process of extracting chlorine from the most mundane of raw materials - table salt.

We hear from regular contributor Professor Andrea Sella of University College London who explains why this halogen has become a workhorse of the chemicals industry, lying behind thousands of products.

And an expert in the chlorine market explains why the bursting of Spain's property bubble might put up the price of soap there - and it's all thanks to this element.

  • 16 Apr 2014