Chlorine dioxide chemistry in plain language

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Chlorine dioxide is a compound made up of
Chemical ~facts worth knowing
Different products have different concentrations of chlorine dioxide
1 atom of Chlorine
+
2 atoms of Oxygen
Cl
O2
Unlike common bleach, chlorine dioxide “oxidizes” and does not chlorinate.
This is much safer for people and the environment.
Chlorine dioxide is a GAS*
Any liquid product that has chlorine dioxide as an ingredient is a "SOLUTION" of chlorine dioxide GAS dissolved into water
(often along with other ingredients)
Many "chlorine dioxide disinfectants" do not actually contain much pre-made chlorine dioxide. Instead they contain mostly sodium chlorite and other ingredients.
The product label will have simple instructions on how  chlorine dioxide needs to be "activated" for that specific product. (Most require simply adding water, while others require adding in an acidic powder or additional liquid that is included with the product.) When you "activate" the product, the ingredients chemically rearrange and generate chlorine dioxide molecules.
Do you really need to understand the chemistry of chlorine dioxide?
You don't if the instructions on the label of the product you are using provides clear enough information about the specific use for which you want

You don't if the product you are using has clear enough instructions on how to use it for the purpose you desire. Be sure to read all the instructions on the label.

You do if the product label does not provide enough clarity, or you want to understand more about how to effectively use chlorine dioxide.

Below are summaries of some of the most important principles.
Different types of chlorine dioxide are DIFFERENT
"Free" chlorine dioxide
Also referred to as "pure chlorine dioxide."
Available chlorine dioxide
Also referred to as "total chlorine dioxide."
Stabilized chlorine dioxide
Also called "buffered chlorine dioxide"
"Activator"
Acidic substance added to a disinfectant to lower the pH for chlorine dioxide to be generated.
Sodium chlorite
Acidified sodium chlorite
Chlorine dioxide
It's anyone's guess as to which of the above

*except when it’s colder than ?? C (51 F) or hotter than ??? C (?? F)

When a product's concentration of chlorine dioxide is high, its effect on pathogens (and human cells) is stronger.
There are 2 ways to describe the concentration of chlorine dioxide gas in a liquid solution.
ppm in a Liquid Solution
In a liquid solution, ppm refers to ppmW, which is parts-per-million by mass (weight).
This indicates the units of space filled by chlorine dioxide molecules compared to the total units of space in an area.
% in a Liquid Solution
In a liquid solution, % refers to what percent the mass (weight) of chlorine dioxide molecules is in the total mass of all the kinds of molecules in the solution.
There are also 2 ways to describe the concentration of chlorine dioxide gas in air.
ppm in Air
In air, ppm refers to ppmV, which is parts-per-million by volume.
This indicates the units of space (volume) filled by chlorine dioxide molecules compared to the total units of space in an area.
mg/m3 in Air
This measurement indicates the mass (weight) in milligrams of the chlorine dioxide molecules in a cubic meter volume of air.
How to correctly convert concentrations
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CALCULATORS
for figuring concentrations
in AIR
in LIQUID SOLUTION
View data and formulas that are helpful for figuring the mass or volume of chlorine dioxide in a specific solution or airspace,
Use other tools.