Chlorine and chlorine-releasing compounds have been used in the disinfection of water supplies for more than a century. The discovery that hypochlorous acid (HClO) is the active germicidal species that is formed when chlorine is dissolved in water led to the development and use of the first inorganic hypochlorite salts such as NaOCl and Ca(OCl)2. Later, organic n-chloro compounds were developed as disinfectants. These compounds release hypochlor-ous acid when dissolved in water, especially in the presence of acid. Two equally plausible mechanisms have been proposed for the germicidal action of hypochlorous acid: the chlorination of amide nitrogen atoms and the oxidation of sulfhydryl groups in proteins. Organic compounds that form stable n-chloro derivatives include amides, imides, and amidines. n-Chloro compounds slowly release HOCl in water. The antiseptic effect of these agents is optimal at around pH 7.
^-Dichlorosulfamoylbenzoic acid is a white, crystalline, photosensitive compound with a faint chlorine odor. Halazone is only slightly soluble in water at pH 7 but becomes very soluble in alkaline solutions. The sodium salt of halazone is used to disinfect drinking water.
Chloroazodin n,n-Dichlorodicarbonamidine (Azochloramid) is a bright yellow crystalline solid with a faint odor of chlorine. It is mostly insoluble in water and organic solvents and is unstable to light or heat. Chloroazodin will explode if heated above 155°C. The compound is soluble enough in water to be used in very dilute solution to disinfect wounds, as packing for dental caries, and for lavage and irrigation. A glyc-eryltriacetate solution is used as a wound dressing. The antiseptic action of chloroazodin is long lasting because of its extremely slow reaction with water.
Oxychlorosene (Clorpactin) is a complex of the sodium salt of dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid and hypochlorous acid. The complex slowly releases hypochlorous acid in solution.
Oxychlorosene occurs as an amorphous white powder that has a faint odor of chlorine. It combines the germicidal properties of HOCl with the emulsifying, wetting, and kera-tolytic actions of an anionic detergent. The agent has a marked and rapid-cidal action against most microorganisms, including both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, molds, yeasts, viruses, and spores. Oxychlorosene is used to treat localized infections (especially when resistant organisms are present), to remove necrotic tissue from massive infections or radiation necrosis, to counteract odorous discharges, to act as an irritant, and to disinfect cysts and fistulas. Oxychlorosene is marketed as a powder for reconstitution into a solution. A typical application uses a 0.1% to 0.5% concentration in water. Dilutions of 0.1% to 0.2% are used in urology and ophthalmology.
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