ClO2: The Selective Biocide
Disinfection through Oxidation:
Atoms are composed of matter with electrically charged particles: Protons (+), Electrons (-) and Neutrons (0). The class of biocides referred to as “oxidizers” all work by means of an electron exchange – one atom gains and the other atom loses an electron. All oxidizers may be measured by means of their ‘oxidation strength’ and their ‘oxidation capacity’ or ‘potential’. The higher the ‘strength’ the more powerful the attack, the higher the ‘capacity’ the greater the longevity. It can be compared to two armies – one with a single large cannon (but just a few cannon balls), and another with several small artillery AND an abundance of ammunition.
ClO2 – Compared to Other Oxidizers:
Let’s use these two classifications to make a comparison:
Oxidant Strength Capacity
Ozone 2.07 2 e-
Peroxide 1.78 2 e-
Bleach 1.49 2 e-
Bromide 1.33 2 e-
ClO2 0.95 5 e-
To use our artillery analogy, ClO2 has the smallest gun, but 250% more ammunition, targeting is easier and damage to environmental surfaces is greatly reduced.
The very fact that the chlorine dioxide molecule is so small is what makes it so quick and effective. When looking for matter to oxidize, the ClO2 molecule begins with the smallest opponents first – viruses, bacteria (of various sizes), spores, fungi and protozoan. It’s strength is exhausted only progressively, and not before it exacts destructive force on the toughest of microbes.
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