Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How Does Chlorine Dioxide React with Water?

In most cases, before a decontamination occurs, the environment undergoes a wet cleaning to remove dirt and organic material.  This residual water can present a challenge for some decontamination methods.  One example being Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) because it dilutes and breaks down in water.  So for that method to be effective, the area must be completely dry before use.  Depending on the application, drying the environment can be a lengthy process which adds a prohibitive amount of time to the cycle.

Chlorine dioxide (CD) gas is water soluble, allowing it to maintain its sterilization efficacy within water.  Unlike chlorine, CD gas does not form hydrochloric acid and maintains a neutral pH. In wet environments, chlorine dioxide can decontaminate any remaining water as well as the surfaces beneath.  This eliminates the need to wait until the environment is completely dry before decontamination occurs, in turn, decreasing the overall downtime.

One application where this has a real world effect is within decontamination chambers.  The use of decontamination chambers is becoming more prevalent within research facilities and clean rooms.  Within vivaria where space is extremely valuable, these chambers are sometimes included as part of a dual-use rack washer/decontamination chamber unit.  Within this application, if the system is run as a rack washer, the amount of water at the bottom of the chamber afterwards can take hours to completely dry out.  Being CD gas is not affected by water, it can be used within a dual-use chamber immediately after a wash cycle.  This can save your facility hours of time and allow the savings in facility footprint to become a viable option.  It also allows a contaminated facility the ability to become completely decontaminated as there’s no worry for residual water rendering the process ineffective.

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