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WASHINGTON—Two groups representing labor and industry have decided to present a united front in the face of questions about the environmental hazards of chlorine.

The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions and the Washington-based Chlorine Chemistry Council on March 10 agreed to cooperate in efforts to ``ensure the sustainability of the global chlorine industry,'' according to a news release issued by the CCC.

Chlorine-related industries provide ``5 million jobs worldwide and direct capital investments in the hundreds of billions of dollars,'' according to a joint statement issued by the two groups.

Questions that environmental groups have raised about the safety of chlorine and chlorinated products such as PVC should be answered ``through scientific investigation with peer review,'' according to the statement.

ICEM is a global industrial trade union federation based in Brussels, Belgium, representing more than 20 million workers worldwide in the chemicals, energy, environmental services, mining and process industries. CCC, a business council of the Chemical Manufacturers Association, is made up of manufacturers and users of chlorine and chlorine-based products.