The quality of Chlorine Dioxide products
The Quality of Sodium Chlorite
I am often asked why our chlorite solution does not turn a dark brown color quickly.
First and foremost is the source of the raw material.
Sodium Chlorite flake and powder can come from quite a few different sources. Although all are considered to be technical grade, there are 2 distinct categories that this is split into.
Industrial Grade, and EPA registered.
Industrial grade vs EPA registered sodium chlorite
Industrial Sodium chlorite is the easiest to find. It also costs quite a bit less than the EPA registered chlorite. A lot of it is manufactured in China, and distributed through chemical supply companies. The main uses for this are pulp bleaching, oil field use, and other applications in which the killing of pathogens is not the primary goal. Industrial grade Sodium Chlorite is usually quite high in Sodium Chlorate (NaClO3) and Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), and buffered with common salt. Industrial Grade sodium chlorite can also contain a high amount of lead, mercury, and arsenic. When used to make a solution, industrial grade chlorite will be cloudy for awhile, often requiring to sit for a day or two before it clears. Brown sediment is visible on the bottom, and a nasty foam will remain on top until you skim it off. The solution may seem "greasy". When solutions are made with industrial grade sodium chlorite may seem to activate "better", turning a dark amber quickly. This is due to the toxic Sodium Chlorate producing both Chlorine Dioxide, as well as Chlorine, and other chlorine compounds. Turning dark faster does not necessarily mean more Chlorine Dioxide.
EPA registration means that the Sodium Chlorite has been approved to be used as a disinfectant, sanitizer, and to control micro-organisms. This Sodium Chlorite is harder to obtain, costs more, and is only made by a few companies.
The big advantage to EPA Chlorite, is the fact it is approved to be used on food and food service, and medical sterilization. Because of this, the product is regulated, and the amounts of undesirable inert ingredients are substantially less. Most EPA registered sodium chlorite will contain little or no Sodium Chlorate, or Lye, and virtually no heavy metals. Typical salt content will vary from 4 to 11%. Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sulfate, and some other sodium salts may be present. When used to make a solution, a good grade of Sodium Chlorite will go clear in just a couple minutes, with no sediment, or foam on top. Activation should be a steady darkening from yellow to amber. The point is, you should always try to source solutions made from a good raw Sodium Chlorite. EPA registration and a US made product is a good indicator of this.
There are many ways to mess up a batch of chlorite solution. One way is over-heating the water. Good sodium chlorite will dissolve into chlorite solution in room temperature water in just about a minute, and be clear and sediment free within 5 minutes. No need to heat it up. While it is true that heating the water can help with solubility, a good grade of chlorite will not have this issue. Heating the water too much can affect the quality of the chlorite solution. If the water is too hot, you can weaken the solution.
Another problem is the math, and the vast amount of incorrect info on how to make chlorite solution available. The instructions I have found on other sites are sometimes wrong, or at best, very confusing.
This is coupled with the fact that 80% Sodium Chlorite is a general term. The actual content can vary from as low as 76% to as high as 83% that I have seen. Without a certificate of analysis, a manufacturer of chlorite solution is only guessing by using a general number that may in fact, be incorrect.
Another variable that can wreck a batch is the water used to make it. Distilled water that is ozonated, purified water made with resin traps, alkaline water, mineral water..... all will affect the final outcome. Many manufacturers buy distilled water that has ozone added, and this can cause other undesirable compounds to occur.
Lastly, contamination of the raw material... I once got a barrel with a small hole in it. Humidity had caused the entire side of the barrel to begin to activate. Contamination by organic material can also cause the raw material to become unstable.
QUALITY ASSURANCE - NO EASY ANSWER
How long a company has been in business should be a good indicator, but there are good suppliers and bad ones also. Anyone selling this stuff should know the differences between the raw materials, the rules that apply to labeling and handling it, and the proper way to make it. Not only for their protection but for yours as well. The thing is, anyone who knows anything about this stuff should be telling you this exact same thing.
If it isn't stored properly, handled properly and disposed of properly, there can be consequences from other agencies. Mislabeling can also cause consequences, and the fact is many do not label the product correctly. If they do not know how to label it, and the regulations governing the chemical itself, then what assurance do you have that they have bothered to make it right.
Using a chlorite containing high amounts of lead, mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metals is just plain bad judgement., While chlorine dioxide is actually used in some cases to oxidize heavy metals and render them inert, the activation procedure is not complete activation, and the oxidation of all the heavy metals is not something that happens instantly. Even if it were, it would use up chlorine dioxide in order to achieve that oxidation.
Any site selling commodities should provide good information on the product itself. No just copied protocols and quotes from people they have never spoken to. Anyone supplying any type product should list ingredients, have an MSDS sheet available if applicable, and be available to answer technical and safety questions about their products. They should have contact info on every item sold.
What it boils down to is this,,,, are you going to trust your products to someone who does this as a hobby, or do you want to source your items from someone who is committed to bring you the highest quality ingredients, and understands the way it works?