History of Use
Chlorine dioxide has been commercially used since 1944, when it was applied to river water to remove the phenolic taste of tainted river water. Over the next 60+ years, the role as a powerful antimicrobial has grown tremendously as scientific data digs deeper into the chlorine dioxide molecule.
Today's largest use of chlorine dioxide is in paper pulp bleaching, where it replaced chlorine bleaching which had been polluting the waters with dioxin. It is also widely used in municipal water treatment worldwide, as both a primary and secondary water disinfectant. ClO2 has the advantage over chlorine dosing because it will not form chlorinated organic compounds, such as trihalomethanes, a toxic byproduct of chlorination.
Odor scrubbing and industrial processes are roughly in third place, with food processing applications rounding out the top four. ClO2 is on the FDA food additives list, listed as an approved terminal sanitizing rinse, and is used in virtually all types of food rinse waters from poultry to lettuce to prevent cross contamination.