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a mixture of varying proportions of complexes of chlorine with calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide. Contains 24-37% available chlorine. Decomposes in moist conditions to liberate chlorine. Strong irritant due to chlorine vapors. Used for disinfecting drinking water and sewage; in the bleaching of wood pulp, linen, cotton, straw, oils, soaps, and laundry; as an oxidizer; in destroying caterpillars; and as a decontaminant for mustard gas and similar substances.
Synonym(s): bleaching powder