Alternatives to Chlorine
Since I have bad mouthed chlorine the last time, I have been hounded by the thought of what can be a more rational choice for a sanitizing chemical ingredient. There are lot of options available in the markets but they always question the stability -like in hydrogen peroxide, effectivity , water usage, affinity to organic matter and the pricing.
Quats and Iodophors are the least explored and talked about. It is astounding that a lot of reputed institutional cleaning practices still adhere to low cost- low effective solutions like caustic and chlorine, especially in developing countries.
Quaternary ammonium compounds or simply QAC are chemicals that act as disinfectants and commercially any product that is labeled as ‘anti bacterial’ usually contains QAC. (Check for names like Benzalkonium chloride, Dodecyl ammonium chloride etc). Ofcourse QAC ingredients in your daily ritualistic household cleaning may not be necessary, but places where there are high pathogenic activities that may cause spread of the disease, may be ideal to start with. These include slaughter houses, milk processing plants, food and beverage manufacturing industries, poultry farms etc. The beauty of QAC is that they are manufactured widely and easy to blend in water or alcohols.
Iodine based sanitizers, now can burn a hole in your pockets but industrial pockets are usually large and moreover with the concentrations of iodine in the formulation being effective even at the teeniest levels (about 1.6%) it should be the most preferred option industrial hygiene. It leaves no residues, its very efficient in microbial decontamination, its non corrosive (unlike chlorine), it does wonders at almost all pH levels and the best part it does not bind to organic matter. It scores a plus even on the biodegradability part of it.
The only downside I would mention would be that the contact time required is pretty much high and in companies that pride themselves on their perfect delivery time and are optimized such, it might be a little tough to incorporate it.
CHANGE is tricky, but beneficial. Change is the only thing that will set you apart. So my message to all the decision makers, purchases managers and COOs of the companies mentioned above- make a choice now, the right choice is just around the corner.
Note- The opinions expressed in the article above is strictly of the author.