Carolina Holistic Medicine | Functional & Alternative Medicine | Charleston, SC

Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine Dioxide

by JP Saleeby, MD
and a little help from my friends


Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is a chemical compound consisting of one chlorine atom and two oxygen atoms. It is a reddish to yellowish-green gas at room temperature that dissolves in water rather easily.  It is a molecule formed by combining sodium chlorate or sodium chlorite with acid. Used for a variety of antimicrobial uses that include the disinfection of drinking water.  Chlorine dioxide is a hazardous gas, but it rarely hangs around long enough to do harm as it breaks down to chlorine gas and oxygen.  Chlorine gas is very toxic in high concentrations.  Only in an industrial setting can a large exposure typically be hazardous to humans.  When dissolved in water it can be used safely at certain quantities regulated by OSHA.  Chlorine dioxide is always made at the location in which it is needed or used.


[ 5NaClO2 + 4HCl à 4ClO2 + 5NaCl + 2H20 ]


Chlorine dioxide is not as unstable as ozone (O3) but does not produce a lasting residual. It does not form chlorinated compounds which are considered toxic in the presence of organics and is efficacious over a wide pH range. Byproducts of chlorine dioxide are chlorite (ClO2) and chlorate (ClO3) and oxygen.


Chlorine dioxide has no taste or odor in water. It is capable of inactivating most waterborne pathogens, including C. parvum oocysts, at practical doses but at extended contact times of 2 to 4 hours.  It is as least as effective a bactericide as chlorine and far superior as a virucide (virus killer).   Most administered chlorine dioxide and its metabolites remain in plasma followed by kidneys, lungs, stomach, intestine, liver, and spleen.  About 43% of orally administered chlorine dioxide is eliminated in the urine and feces within 72-hours.  It is not excreted via the lungs however.


Chlorine dioxide was discovered in 1811 by Sir Humphry Davy and has been widely used for bleaching purposes in the paper industry, and for treatment of drinking water.   More recent developments have extended its application into food processing, disinfection of premises and vehicles, mold eradication, air disinfection and odor control, treatment of swimming pools, dental applications, and wound cleansing.


The use of Chlorine Dioxide in water to kill of pathological organisms like Cryptosporidium or Giardia is one use, it can also kill off algae and take some bad tastes and odors out of drinking water.  The purported use of chlorine dioxide as a ‘’miracle cure’’ for a number of illnesses and diseases must be eyed with caution.  Claims of using chlorine dioxide in such protocols for autism, HIV, malaria, hepatitis and other viruses and cancer may be too optimistic a suggestion.  Products such as MMS (Miracle Mineral Supplement) must be used with caution or not used at all in humans and pets.  Use may induce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme dehydration.  Some companies that sell chlorine dioxide for nefarious claimed uses with unsubstantiated claims have faced criminal convictions.

In the book “Encyclopedia of Toxicology” (2nd edition/2005) chlorine dioxide (ClO2) gas is reported to be highly irritating to the skin and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Other hazards with the ClO2 gas are that of spontaneous ignition or explosion when in contact with flammable materials.

The compound has according to the FDA been illegally marketed as an ingestible cure for a wide range of diseases, including childhood autism and coronavirus.  The mainstream media (MSM) hooked on to the ingestion of ‘’bleach’’ as a scare tactic for the masses and politicized when then President Trump suggested its use for COVID-19.  To be fair much of this may have been pulled out of context by biased MSM, but the DIY ClO2 ingestion could very well be dangerous.  By definition this ClO2 compound is classified as bleach, but not the other “bleach’’ we commonly refer to as Clorox® which is sodium hypochlorite.  Sodium hypochlorite is NaClO.

Children who have been given enemas of chlorine dioxide as a supposed cure for childhood autism have suffered life-threatening ailments. The FDA has stated that ingestion or other internal use of chlorine dioxide, outside of supervised oral rinsing using dilute concentrations, has no health benefits of any kind, and it should not be used internally for any reason.  With our current doubts about the FDA and its current recommendations to the American public, we must research this much more in private sector research centers that are not bias.  At the present time unless used as a last resort intervention, I cannot whole heartedly recommend the use of chlorine dioxide until better clinical trials are undertaken or substantial observational case studies are published.



  6. use resulting in renal injury
  7. use in COVID19 Peruvian study
  8. clinical trial from April to June 2020.



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