Bromine Applications

Since bromine was discovered, various bromine compounds have been put to important use.

Water Purification

One of the major uses of bromine is as a water purifier/disinfectant. Brominated compounds are used for water treatment in swimming pools and hot tubs. They are also used to control algae and bacterial growth in industrial processes.




Bromine compounds are effective pesticides, used both as soil fumigants in agriculture, particularly fruit-growing, and as a fumigant to prevent pests from attacking stored grain and other produce. Significant volumes of world trade in agriculture goods depend on the use of bromine compounds to ensure compliance with mandatory rules on quarantine.


Cars - past and future

In the past, bromine compounds were used in leaded fuel, as a constituent of "anti-knock fluid". However, this use has declined as lead has gradually been removed from fuel. Bromine compounds are now being tested in batteries for electric cars, designed to produce zero emissions. Such batteries can also be used as electricity storage devices.



A key use of bromine compounds is in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. Brominated substances are important ingredients of many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including analgesics, sedatives, and antihistamines. In fact, bromine compounds are active ingredients in several drugs that treat pneumonia and cocaine addiction. Currently, several drugs containing bromine compounds are undergoing trials for treatment of Alzheimer's disease and new generations of anti-cancer and AIDS drugs.



Bromine compounds have a number of applications in photography. Several compounds are used to make the light-sensitive component of a photographic emulsion; without bromine compounds photographs would not capture sufficient light. Other bromine compounds are used as an ingredient in photo development.

However, the largest use - and probably the most important life safety benefit - of bromine is in brominated flame retardants.

  • Please click here if you want to know more about brominated flame retardants.
  • Please click here if you want to know how bromine acts on fire.