Activated Sodium Chlorite Solution (Chlorine Dioxide) and Bleach
In this article, we will be referring to Chlorine Dioxide as Activated Sodium Chlorite Solution.
Common misconception that many people have when learning about Chlorine Dioxide is thinking that it or sodium chlorite is the same as household bleach. While Chlorine Dioxide and household bleach do have some things in common, they are also very different. This article explains the similarities and differences between Chlorine Dioxide and common bleach.
Like sodium chlorite, bleach is made up of sodium, chlorine, and oxygen molecules. Bleach is found in many everyday household cleaning products, including laundry detergents, soaps, and bathroom cleaners. The biggest advantage that bleach has over Chlorine Dioxide is that it is ready to use as sold. When you need to use bleach, you simply open the bottle and use it. There is no mixing or waiting for a chemical reaction to take place. Sodium chlorite requires mixing two ingredients together to create chlorine dioxide gas, and requires a few minutes of wait time for the reaction to occur. In this regard, bleach is much more appealing because it is much simpler to use.
Another advantage that bleach has over sodium chlorite products is its availability. Because bleach is such a common household item, it can be found many places. Bleach can be found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and even convenience stores. Because it is new to the market and not nearly as understood or accepted as bleach, sodium chlorite solution does not have the kind of popular reach that bleach does.
Of course, the fact that something is popular does not necessarily mean that it is the most sensible. In many cases, this is true with bleach. Chlorine Dioxide, while not an exact replacement for bleach, can effectively replace bleach for many purposes, while offering important advantages that bleach does not.
As you probably know, virtually all of America’s municipal tap water is chlorinated. This means that water districts add small amounts of bleach into the public water supply before it is pumped out to the districts they serve. Chlorine levels are different around the country, and if you have traveled to a number of places around the country you may have noticed a difference in the level of chlorine that you tasted in the water.
The jury is still out on how unhealthy chlorinated water is for the human population. We have our opinions and we’re sure you do too. The important thing to note about chlorinated water is that it creates toxins – not directly in your body, but in the water itself.
When a molecule of bleach interacts with an organic substance, a chemical reaction takes place that creates a trihalomethane. Trihalomethanes are carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) that are used in industrial work for solvents and refrigerants. Organic substances include almost any carbon-based material.
Chlorine bleach is added to municipal water supplies because it reduces the possibility of diseases spreading through the water. For the most part, it does a good job at keeping these risks low – but this comes at a price, and the price is the formation of trihalomethanes in the water supply.
Fortunately, water districts around the country are slowly figuring out that bleach is not the best way to achieve their goals of minimizing contamination in the water supply, and are switching over to using sodium chlorate or sodium chlorite (Chlorine Dioxide!) to purify their water. This, we think, is a step in the right direction.
Imagine yourself using bleach around the house. You might use it in the bathroom to brighten tiles or clean the sink. You might use it in the kitchen to disinfect a cutting board. Now imagine how many times the bleach you are using has interacted with an organic substance. It might be bits of food in the kitchen. It might be the cutting board itself, if it is made of wood. It might be the paper towel you use to clean with. Whenever the bleach you are using contacts these organic substances, cancer-causing trihalomethanes are produced.
We are happy to say that sodium chlorite solution does not produce trihalomethanes when interacting with organic material. Chlorine Dioxide can be used as a bleach replacement for disinfecting without creating any toxic byproducts.
For more information on using Chlorine Dioxide as a bleach alternative, see our comprehensive report on ways you can use sodium chlorite solution in your home.