Alternative compounds that release chlorine and are used in the health-care setting include demand-release chlorine dioxide, sodium dichloroisocyanurate, and chloramine-T. The advantage of these compounds over the hypochlorites is that they retain chlorine longer and so exert a more prolonged bactericidal effect. Sodium dichloroisocyanurate tablets are stable, and for two reasons, the microbicidal activity of solutions prepared from sodium dichloroisocyanurate tablets might be greater than that of sodium hypochlorite solutions containing the same total available chlorine. First, with sodium dichloroisocyanurate, only 50% of the total available chlorine is free (HOCl and OCl¯), whereas the remainder is combined (monochloroisocyanurate or dichloroisocyanurate), and as free available chlorine is used up, the latter is released to restore the equilibrium. Second, solutions of sodium dichloroisocyanurate are acidic, whereas sodium hypochlorite solutions are alkaline, and the more microbicidal type of chlorine (HOCl) is believed to predominate 530-533. Chlorine dioxide-based disinfectants are prepared fresh as required by mixing the two components (base solution [citric acid with preservatives and corrosion inhibitors] and the activator solution [sodium chlorite]). In vitro suspension tests showed that solutions containing about 140 ppm chlorine dioxide achieved a reduction factor exceeding 106 of S. aureus in 1 minute and of Bacillus atrophaeus spores in 2.5 minutes in the presence of 3 g/L bovine albumin. The potential for damaging equipment requires consideration because long-term use can damage the outer plastic coat of the insertion tube 534. In another study, chlorine dioxide solutions at either 600 ppm or 30 ppm killed Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare within 60 seconds after contact but contamination by organic material significantly affected the microbicidal properties535.
The microbicidal activity of a new disinfectant, "superoxidized water," has been examined The concept of electrolyzing saline to create a disinfectant or antiseptics is appealing because the basic materials of saline and electricity are inexpensive and the end product (i.e., water) does not damage the environment. The main products of this water are hypochlorous acid (e.g., at a concentration of about 144 mg/L) and chlorine. As with any germicide, the antimicrobial activity of superoxidized water is strongly affected by the concentration of the active ingredient (available free chlorine) 536. One manufacturer generates the disinfectant at the point of use by passing a saline solution over coated titanium electrodes at 9 amps. The product generated has a pH of 5.0–6.5 and an oxidation-reduction potential (redox) of >950 mV. Although superoxidized water is intended to be generated fresh at the point of use, when tested under clean conditions the disinfectant was effective within 5 minutes when 48 hours old 537. Unfortunately, the equipment required to produce the product can be expensive because parameters such as pH, current, and redox potential must be closely monitored. The solution is nontoxic to biologic tissues. Although the United Kingdom manufacturer claims the solution is noncorrosive and nondamaging to endoscopes and processing equipment, one flexible endoscope manufacturer (Olympus Key-Med, United Kingdom) has voided the warranty on the endoscopes if superoxidized water is used to disinfect them 538. As with any germicide formulation, the user should check with the device manufacturer for compatibility with the germicide. Additional studies are needed to determine whether this solution could be used as an alternative to other disinfectants or antiseptics for hand washing, skin antisepsis, room cleaning, or equipment disinfection (e.g., endoscopes, dialyzers) 400, 539, 540. In October 2002, the FDA cleared superoxidized water as a high-level disinfectant (FDA, personal communication, September 18, 2002).
Chlorine is usually used (in the form of ) to kill and other microbes in supplies and public swimming pools. In most private swimming pools, chlorine itself is not used, but rather , formed from chlorine and , or solid tablets of chlorinated isocyanurates. The drawback of using chlorine in swimming pools is that the chlorine reacts with the proteins in human hair and skin (see ), and becomes chemically bonded. Even small water supplies are now routinely chlorinated.
The most stable chlorine radioisotope is 36Cl. The primary decay mode of isotopes lighter than 35Cl is to isotopes of ; that of isotopes heavier than 37Cl is to isotopes of ; and 36Cl may decay by either mode to stable 36S or 36Ar. occurs in trace quantities in nature as a in a ratio of about (7–10) × 10−13 to 1 with stable chlorine isotopes: it is produced in the atmosphere by of 36 by interactions with . In the top meter of the lithosphere, 36Cl is generated primarily by activation of 35Cl and spallation of 39 and 40. In the subsurface environment, by 40 becomes more important as a way to generate 36Cl.