Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is a halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17 (formerly VII, VIIa, or VIIb). As the chloride ion, which is part of common salt and other compounds, it is abundant in nature and necessary to most forms of life, including humans. In its elemental form (Cl2 or "dichlorine") under standard conditions, chlorine is a powerful oxidant and is used in bleaching and disinfectants, as well as an essential reagent in the chemical industry. As a common disinfectant, chlorine compounds are used in swimming pools to keep them clean and sanitary. In the upper atmosphere, chlorine-containing molecules such as chlorofluorocarbons have been implicated in the destruction of the ozone layer.
During World War I, chlorine gas, known as "bertholite", was a weapon of the battlefield, introduced by Germany at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, and quickly spread to both sides. It was eventually replaced with harsher gases.