The Dangers and Setbacks of Using Impure Disinfectant Solutions


Written by: Selective Micro Technologies 

In any setting, it is imperative to understand the type of chemical designated for disinfection. Most solutions carry a dominant formula with many impurities also present in solution. Such surrogate contaminants may be toxic or dangerous, even in low quantities. This is especially true for different versions of alcohol based disinfectants as well as chlorine dioxide solutions. For example, isopropyl alcohol vapor flammability can be influenced by the grade of this disinfectant, likewise with its irritability to the skin.

Also, according to the The Chlorine Dioxide Handbook, published by the American Waterworks Association, the term “stabilized” chlorine dioxide is “…….a misnomer, and preparations so labeled are specialty formulations incorporating sodium chlorite and proprietary “activators” that are designed to slowly release chlorine dioxide. These products are not intended for use in drinking water applications because high levels of chlorite ion (ClO2-) remaining after activation and the relatively low ClO2 concentrations . . . .”

Stabilized chlorine dioxide formulas identify an amount of “available” chlorine dioxide; unless there is a perfect, controlled conversion, the amount of chlorine dioxide which becomes available for disinfection is very little. There are very high levels of corrosive chlorite in any stabilized formula. It is important to question the purity of solution for reasons not dissimilar to why one may question the impurities associated with potential drinking water; one does not want to consume water which is impure, therefore similar considerations should be taken with use of disinfectants especially as disinfection byproducts may present higher health hazards than.

Here are some additional considerations with respect to purity of disinfectant solution:

1) Impure chemical disinfectant solutions generally equate to a higher level of material corrosion

2) Impure chemical disinfectant solutions generally equate to a greater presence of disinfection byproducts

3) Impure chemical disinfectant solutions may not adequately disinfect as advertised; further, more solution is needed to deliver adequate levels of disinfection

4) The level of purity of a disinfectant solution is generally correlated to material compatibility, capacity to effectively disinfect, level of environmental awareness

5) Ultra-pure chemical disinfectant solutions, notably pure chlorine dioxide, deliver superior material compatibility, are disinfection byproduct residual free, and provide much greater disinfection capacity than do impure purveyor