In 2018, nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported to health departments across the United States. In just the last three months, there have been more than 50 confirmed cases in the country, according to HC Info. This disease is a serious and sometimes fatal type of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria found naturally in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams. The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made building water systems like cooling towers and large, complex plumbing systems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), water-management programs help identify hazardous conditions and utilize processes to minimize the growth and transmission of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens that build up in water systems. These programs are now an industry standard for many buildings in the United States. Effective water management involves identifying where bacteria could grow and spread, ensuring adequate disinfection and maintaining devices to prevent sediment, scale, corrosion and biofilm. Once programs are established, there should be regular monitoring of key areas for potentially hazardous conditions against which the use of predetermined responses could be activated if necessary.
Can HOCl Be Used In Water Management?
Process water is non-drinkable water used in industry, manufacturing processes, power generation and similar applications. It can be used for the process operation or the creation of products. According to Allied Market Research, municipal or groundwater supplies often contain dissolved minerals that can cause many problems affecting product quality and manufacturing costs. The global process water treatment market size was valued at $263.1 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $520.4 billion by 2030. Business Wire attributes this rapid growth to the rising water scarcity, gradual drop in the amount of clean drinking water, and increased industrial activities that lead to water contamination. HOCl is ideal for commercial applications to protect these water systems and treatment plants from harmful bacteria. It disinfects without using harsh chemicals that are detrimental to our environment and long-term health and is free of harsh chemicals, dangerous fumes and nasty volatile organic compounds.
How Does HOCl Work?
Let’s look at the chemistry to understand the effectiveness and safety of our HOCl. Think of a scale where the left side starts at zero pH or something highly acidic such as battery acid. As you move toward the right — from zero to one through three — we get safer and safer as there are more hydrogen ions in the liquid. As you move to the right, items such as soap, bleach and drain cleaner become alkaline at the opposite end with fewer hydrogen ions in the liquid. In the middle of the scale is water with a completely neutral pH of 7 — our benchmark. Our standard HOCl sits around a 6.5 pH level or near neutral.
Most pathogens, such as viruses, germs, and bacteria, tend to carry a negative molecular charge with a pH of around 7. When interacting with our HOCl, the near equally charged ends come together rather than fight each other. The HOCl appears to pose no more threat to the pathogen than water or a food source, so it doesn’t have to pound away at the shell, like bleach. It simply gets absorbed, and then the free available chlorine goes to work, killing the pathogen’s DNA and preventing it from replicating.
Where Is HOCl Being Used?
While HOCl is used in homes and offices for disinfecting, sanitizing, deodorizing and cleaning, it is also used in commercial applications across dozens of industries:
- It is used for wastewater treatment as an answer to reducing the growing health and environmental damage related to chlorine tablets. Healthline mentions that chlorine poisoning can occur when you touch, swallow or inhale the chemical. It reacts with water outside the body and on mucosal surfaces inside the body, including the water in your digestive tract. Most incidents of chlorine poisoning result from ingesting household cleaners. By using HOCl surface cleaner, there is no risk of exposure that could damage your body systems.
- It is used to treat water systems to remove the biofilm that builds up in pipes. According to Environmental Science & Technology, biofilm formation poses a significant problem to the drinking water industry due to potential bacterial contamination, including pathogens. It oftentimes affects the taste and odor of the water. HOCl is effective at preventing the development of biofilm without harsh corrosion of pipes.
- It is used in cooling towers to remove bacteria and improve operating efficiencies while reducing downtime and repairs. Cooling towers are ideal environments for producing pathogens that are dispersed through aerosolized drift and can potentially enter the air-conditioning system if there is a break between the cooling tower's ducts and evaporative condenser's ducts. Inhalation of tiny particles of contaminated water is a common method of spreading Legionella. A solution such as HOCl minimizes the chances of harmful particles circulating.
What Problems Does HOCl Solve?
HOCl is produced using ingredients and processes that are found within our own human bodies. With these naturally occurring ingredients, HOCl does not expose us — or our environments — to unwanted chemicals that many other cleaners do. Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are found in many everyday items that we assume are safe as they are used on our hair, clothes and even in daycares. However, that's not always the case. For example, bleach exposure can irritate the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin, according to Beyond Toxics. Individuals with asthma or other breathing problems are particularly susceptible. Additionally, it can burn human tissue, internally or externally, especially in children.
Other commonly used disinfectant products also use these chemical compounds that are much more complex to manufacture and are typically produced on a large scale in chemical plants. Compounds like sodium hypochlorite are negatively charged, so they have to raise the pH to break through the pathogen's defenses. Bleach carries a pH of around 13, right up there with drain cleaner, which is why it comes with all those hazardous warnings. HOCl can be the answer to the growing saturation of the dangerous chemicals that we unknowingly surround ourselves with daily. It is even gentle enough to use on children's toys and spray directly on your face. Additionally, HOCl is 80 times stronger than bleach with its ability to kill pathogens such as Clostridioides difficile (C. Diff), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza and 99.9% of others.
The Better Alternative
In contrast to bleach and many other chemical cleaners, HOCl is an all-natural solution made from three simple ingredients: salt minerals, water and electricity. It is a naturally occurring compound in the human body that plays an integral part in the immune response. When white blood cells recognize a potential for illness, the body automatically creates HOCl on-demand to seek out these pathogens. It kills dangerous microorganisms as an antimicrobial solution making it equally effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
HOCl enables business leaders to take action in protecting their people and buildings and reduce the waste streams that flow from the enterprise. By keeping water sources clean and free of additional chemicals, we can improve the condition of wastewater treatments, water systems and cooling towers. Our eco-friendly line of HOCl-based surface cleaners and disinfectants are formulated with 100% natural ingredients, contain no harsh chemicals, alcohol, bleach or phosphates and are 99.9% effective against bacteria, viruses, spores and fungi.
With so many diverse applications for HOCl, Emerald Prairie Health developed an entirely new suite of services under the Engineered Solutions Initiative. These large-volume applications require chemistry adjustments and specific treatment protocols based on a unique set of inputs and specific outcomes. We offer several options based on your commercial or home cleaning needs:
Overall, HOCl is naturally occurring and made from natural minerals. It's powerful — 80 times the power of bleach without the dangers that come along with it. It's environmentally friendly — not just safe for the environment but also effective for removing bacteria breeding grounds in biofilm. That makes our HOCl surface cleaner stand out from all the rest as 'The Better Alternative.'
Emerald Prairie Health is a purpose-driven company, committed to providing products that make for a cleaner and healthier world. We provide all-natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning and disinfectant products that help protect against harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Our products are 99.99% effective with no fumes or chemical residues, allowing you to return to the office, classroom, business and your life in a clean and healthy environment.