The uses of bromine are versatile, even though this element is harmful if touched or swallowed and can affect the respiratory tract. In clothes, wires and computers, bromine is used as a fire-retardant to keep the items from catching on fire. The uses of bromine in water are as a disinfectant or purifier, based on the water source and other chemicals combined with bromine. This also is used by the photography industry for the creation of light-sensitive emulsion and photo development. In the agricultural industry, the uses of bromine include pesticides and fumigants.
Bromine is often used as a flame retardant by industrial workers, especially in the plastic and printed circuit board (PCB) industries. In small amounts — so it does not affect public health — bromine also is used as a flame retardant for clothing. It also is used in products such as carpets, paints and kitchen appliances to inhibit combustion.
The uses of bromine in water are varied, as both a disinfectant and a purifier. For pools, cooling towers and other water sources that are generally not around food, bromine serves as a disinfectant. This is because bromine is able to kill bacteria and algae found in non-sanitized water. For this same reason, bromine is used to purify drinking water. When used as a purifier, bromine must be carefully controlled, because too much can prove fatal to anyone drinking the water.
In the film industry, the uses of bromine extend to the light-sensitivity in photographic emulsion and as a photograph developer. Light is needed for an image to be burned into film, and bromine is commonly used to ensure the film receives enough light. Without bromine, the image would come out dull or distorted. When it comes to developing the film into larger images, bromine is able to transfer the film images to photography paper.
A significant number of crops depends on the uses of bromine as a pesticide and fumigant. Bromine compounds are regularly sprayed on most agriculture to keep away pests, so the crops are able to grow. It also is sprayed over the soil to reduce the chance of any pests attacking the crop. This is used mostly with fruits and grains, but also is used with vegetables.
The uses of bromine used to extend to medicine, but America and many other countries stopped using it in health care in 1975. In the past, it was used to create sedatives and analgesics. This was largely stopped, because many patients became sick from bromine toxicity.