Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) was discovered in 1814 by Sir Humphrey Davy. He produced the gas by reacting sulphuric acid with potassium chlorate
Chlorine dioxide is not the same as chlorine. While chlorine dioxide has “chlorine” in its name, its chemistry is very different from that of chlorine.
Although both chlorine dioxide and chlorine are oxidizing agents (or electron receivers), chlorine dioxide is significantly more effective as a biocide and disinfectant than chlorine. This is because chlorine molecules have the capacity to accept only two electrons, whilst chlorine dioxide has the capacity to accept five.
Chlorine dioxide penetrates the bacteria cell wall and reacts with vital amino acids in the cytoplasm of the cell to kill the organism. The byproduct of this reaction is chlorite. Of importance is that toxicological studies have shown that ClO2’s disinfection by-product, chlorite, poses no significant adverse risk to human health.
Fifty years of worker experience has demonstrated that chlorine dioxide is a safe compound when handled properly. World-wide, nearly 4.5 million pounds per day of chlorine dioxide are used in the production of pulp and paper.
However, as with any and all disinfectant chemicals, if handled improperly, or consumed internally or absorbed or subjected to prolonged exposure, ClO2 can be toxic. However, it is also this toxicity that makes ClO2 a good water disinfectant agent.
Chlorine dioxide is far more environmentally friendly than other oxidizing biocides and disinfectants including chlorine and bromine. Substituting chlorine dioxide for chlorine eliminates the formation of toxic halogenated disinfection by-products including trihalomethanes (THMs) and other chlorinated compounds that are harmful to the environment.
In fact chlorine dioxide actually helps to remove substances that can form trihalomethanes. The disinfection is by oxidation as chlorine dioxide does not have either addition or substitution reactions associated with its chemistry.
Chlorine dioxide is a strong bactericide and virucide at concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm. It will eliminate both planktonic and sessile bacteria; and rapidly remove problematic biofilm. With minimal contact time, it is highly effective against many pathogenic organisms including:
Chlorine dioxide is a water-soluble gas, it does not ionize to form weak acids (as chlorine and bromine do) in aqueous solutions. This allows chlorine dioxide to be effective over a wide pH range (4 – 10).
For example, the pH dependent speciation of chlorine produces hypochlorite ion and hypochlorous acid (HOCl). Hypochlorite is only 1/30 to 1/200 as effective as HOCl. Chlorine dioxide being a neutral species with rapid disinfection kinetics is 100% available for disinfection in hard or soft water.
GlobalEx® offers a number of highly effective, innovative chlorine dioxide delivery agent products that make the process of creating chlorine dioxide at the point-of-use safe, cost effective and simple, without requiring additional generation equipment or chemicals. Our chlorine dioxide products are available in convenient tablet.
Chlorine dioxide, like ozone, is a dissolved gas that penetrates biofilm by molecular diffusion. However, unlike ozone, chlorine dioxide is stable and soluble, allowing it to travel to the base of the film where it attacks microorganisms and destroys the biofilm at its point of attachment.
Other oxidizers react mostly on the surface of the biofilm to form an oxidized layer, like charring on wood. This precludes further penetration. No other biocide has been shown to control biofilm better than chlorine dioxide.
Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is now recognized as one of the safest, most effective biocides and sterilizing agents available today.
As a result it is widely used in both large and small-scale industrial and commercial applications where a potent but environmentally friendly biocide is required. Chlorine dioxide is approved and recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) as an environmentally friendly drinking water additive to replace chlorine (which is known to form carcinogenic by-products) for both the pre-treatment and final drinkable water disinfection.
|Does not remove biofilm||Will remove biofilm and thus clean tanks and pipes|
|Produces unwanted by-products
including carcinogens, such as trihalomethanes (THMs)
|Does not form chlorinated by-products|
|Is corrosive and unpleasant to handle||Is much less corrosive than chlorine.
Does not hydrolyse to form an acid
|Already banned in certain
parts of Europe and the USA
|Is rapidly replacing chlorine in many of these areas|
|Is pH dependent and very
ineffective above pH 7
|Is not pH dependent (< pH 11)|
|Is ineffective against complex organisms
(e.g: Cysts & Protozoa)
|A very broad spectrum kill*|
|Limited oxidative effect against various chemical contaminants. Forms chlorinated phenols.||Destroys phenols (without forming chlorinated phenols) specific destruction of Hydrogen Sulphides. Destruction of a wide range of chemical contaminants**|
|Neutralisation required before dumping to the foul drain||Because no unwanted by-products are formed, and will have a lower residual after use, no neutralization normally required|
|Can not be used at temperatures above 40ºC due to the release of chlorine gas||Effective at higher temperatures:
does not disassociate as rapidly as chlorine
|Increased disinfection time and more service work required to combat high bug counts||Cost savings in labour and use efficiency outweighs the additional chemical costs|
* Includes aerobic, non-aerobic, gram positive & gram negative bacteria, spores, viruses, fungi, cysts and protozoa.
** Includes iron, manganese and other metalic, phenols, trichlorophenols, Hydrogen Sulphides.
Chlorine dioxide is a strong bactericide and virucide at concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm. It is ideal for use as a hard surface cleaner. It will eliminate both planktonic and sessile bacteria; and rapidly destroy problematic biofilm.
With minimal contact time, it is highly effective against many pathogenic organisms including bacterial spores, Legionella,Tuberculosis, MRSA, VRE, Listeria, Salmonella, amoebal cysts, Giardia cysts, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium. Importantly, chlorine dioxide also destroys biofilm so bacterial re-growth is significantly impeded. For various hard surfaces disinfection, you can use chlorine dioxide solution by spray, soak, immersion, mop, sponge or rinse for cleaning under guided concentrations.
GlobalEx chlorine dioxide tablets offer a number of significant benefits including:
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