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ferrous chloride is a white (anhydrous) or green (hydrated) solid that is soluble in water. It is produced by reacting hydrochloric acid with iron metal and is available from chemical suppliers. The hydrated form is known as rokuhnite (FeCl2*2H2O). It can be used to produce the ferric chloride complex (2,4-diacetyl deuteroporphyrin IX) for the preparation of cofactor-substituted myoglobins. It can also be used as a reducing agent in organic synthesis reactions.
Ferric chloride is hygroscopic and air sensitive. It must be stored under nitrogen and kept away from strong acids and oxidizing agents. It can cause a variety of health effects when handled improperly, including irritation of the nose and throat upon inhalation, and mouth, stomach, or eye burns on prolonged contact. It can also cause hepatotoxicity.
Upon ingestion, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Exposure to liquid ferric chloride can result in severe chemical burns.
A solution of ferrous chloride is used as a flocculating agent in wastewater treatment plants to help control the formation of hydrogen sulfide. It is also used as a mordant in dyeing and a reducing agent for some organic synthesis. Wastewater treatment plants also use it to dechlorinate their effluent before discharge. This chemical can create fumes that can defoliate nearby vegetation.