Food Sanitation Management.
Chlorine is one of the most common substances in the world. It is a chemical element. Chlorine that exists in its pure form exists as a gas and is hard to find. It has a high tendency to combine with other elements and compounds. Pure chlorine is poisonous and has a yellow-green color. Most countries have used chlorine gas as a weapon during war. Chlorine can be safe if mixed with other elements or compounds (Clean Room Technology).
Characteristics of chlorine.
- It is greenish-yellow in color.
- It has a suffocating disagreeable smell.
- It is soluble in water.
- It is a powerful oxidizing, bleaching, and disinfecting agent.
- It has a boiling point of -34.05 and a melting point of -101 degrees Celcius.
- It is 2.5 times denser than air.
- It is highly corrosive.
- Its compound includes PVC, hydrochloric acid, and sodium chloride.
- It reacts with hot metals.
- Specific mixtures of hydrogen and chlorine can lead to an explosion.
Uses of chlorine.
- Used to sanitize raw fruits and vegetables, food processing equipment, and food contact surfaces: chlorine kills undesirable microorganisms. These sanitizers contain hypochlorite or hypochlorous acid (HOCl active sanitizing agent). They do not require a concentration greater than 200ppm. However, the sanitizers should not exceed 2000 ppm hypochlorite, and if they do, they must be rinsed with potable water after the chlorine treatment.
- Used to purify drinking water: Chlorine kills bacteria in the water that cause diseases like cholera, typhoid hepatitis, and dysentery.
- Used to disinfect water in Swimming pools: when used in the right way, chlorine-based disinfectants protect swimmers from bacteria, bacteria that cause infection or diarrhea. Chlorine and pH act as the first lines of defense against germs that might make the swimmer sick (chemical Safety Facts).
- It is used to manufacture wires and cables, airbags, navigation systems, bumpers, bullet-resistant vests, parachutes, shatter-resistant windows, brake fluid, cushions, paints, and steel hulls.
- In hospitals, chlorine is critical in the manufacturing of medicine used to control arthritis pain, relieving symptoms caused by allergies, and in lowering cholesterol.
- It is used to make table salt.
- it is used as a bleaching agent.
- It is cheap and easy to acquire.
- It is easy to use.
- It destroys most bacterias and viruses.
- It provides residual protection against recontamination.
- It protects the body from diarrheal diseases.
- Residual chlorine produces odors and objectionable flavors before it becomes a hazard.
- Chlorine is highly corrosive and should not be used on surfaces prone to rust.
- It irritates the skin and respiratory system. Chlorine in a gaseous state causes irreversible damage to the lungs.
- It loses its effectiveness quickly in the presence of oil, organic material, and dirt.
- It is extremely volatile.
- The right amount of chlorine has to be used.
- It offers low protection against protozoa (McGlynn).
Formaldehyde has hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen elements, and is the simplest form of aldehyde. It is a volatile organic compound and a gas at room temperature. It is classified as a gas, but it exists in dissolved solvents and water. It is produced by all life forms (animals, fish, and bacteria) as part of cell metabolism. It is known for its antibacterial and preservative properties. Exposure to high amounts of formaldehyde causes cancer. Its major sources are biogenic emission, photochemical generation, and vehicles in traffic. It is one of the most important industrial chemicals. It decomposes to methanol and carbon monoxide at 150 degrees Celsius, and pure formaldehyde is produced through catalytic oxidation as a liquid (IntechOpen – Open Science Open Minds ).
- It is a flammable gas.
- It is a colorless gas.
- It has a suffocating smell.
- It polymerizes easily and reacts readily with substances.
- It is soluble in acetone and water.
- It has a boiling point of –19.5°C and a melting point of –92°C.
- It is toxic if swallowed or smelled.
- It is quickly gets broken down in the air.
- Used to manufacture medicine: It inactivates viruses. It manufactures vaccines, hard-gel capsules, and anti-infective drugs.
- Used as a disinfectant and Sterilant: Formalin is sold as a water-based formaldehyde solution. By weight, it weighs 37% of formaldehyde. This solution is tuberculocidal, virucide, sporicide, fungicide, and bactericide.
- Used to preserve dead bodies and mummification: The embalming fluid is used to preserve dead bodies in funeral homes and research anatomy laboratories. Embalming fluid contains methanol, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and other solvents. Formaldehyde prevents protein decomposition and hardens proteins.
- Used to manufacture construction and building materials: It is a preservative, and formaldehyde resins make wood products (for shelving, support beams, cabinetry) and composite.
- Used to manufacture press wood products: it makes products like plywood, adhesives, coating in paper products, insulation material, and particleboard.
- Uses in the cosmetic industry: It is a preservative against microbial contamination in deodorants, soaps, shampoos, etc.; additive in nail hardeners, oral care products, make-up, shaving cream, and hand cream; and farm and machinery sanitation.
- Uses in the leather industry: It is added to the tanning agents.
- Used to make vehicle parts: parts made using formaldehyde are light and more energy efficient. It makes interior molded components, under-the-hood components, and parts that need to withstand high temperatures
- It is cheap.
- It is simple to use.
- It has good fixation traits.
- It is a good preservative of morphological structures.
- It has higher operational pressure.
- It has dimensional stability.
- It boosts the economy.
- It provides exceptionally high functionalism.
- It causes skin and eye irritation.
- It has been classified as a group 2A carcinogenic agent by the international cancer research institute.
- It causes brain, colon, and blood cancer for people who work at industrial setups.
- It causes cell changes, gene mutation, sister chromatid exchange, chromosomal errors, and single-chain fractures.
- It causes wheezing, inflammation, pneumonia, difficulty in breathing, and coughing.
- It is said to have dangerous effects on the central nervous system, testes, and menstrual functions.
- It has non-enzymatic effects on the RNA, DNA, and unsaturated fatty acids.
- Used in the sugar industry: It prevents infection when producing juices.
- Formalin does not corrode stainless steel, unlike chlorine.
- Formalin is not inactivated by excess organic matter like chlorine compounds.
- Chlorine is made fresh before use because it is deactivated by light and air.
- Chlorine irritates the lungs and the skin only, but formaldehyde irritates the lungs, causes cancer, and has non-enzymatic effects.
- Chlorine is used to purify water, unlike formaldehyde.
- Formaldehyde is an aldehyde and a compound, chlorine is an element.
- Formaldehyde inactivates viruses, but chlorine destroys viruses.
Chlorine. chemical Safety Facts, 2020.
Formaldehyde advantages and disadvantages: Usage areas and harmful effects on human beings. IntechOpen – Open Science Open Minds | IntechOpen., 2020.
McGlynn, William. Guidelines for the Use of Chlorine Bleach as a Sanitizer in Food Processing Operations. Oklahoma: Food and Agricultural products research and technology center., n.d.
The science of chlorine-based disinfectant. Clean Room Technology, 2013.