Chlorine Dioxide Gas: A Proven Decontamination Method for Research

  • In laboratory animal research, maintaining impeccable standards of research integrity, animal welfare, and personnel safety is paramount. Embracing the use of chlorine dioxide gas decontamination in laboratory animal research presents a promising avenue for addressing and overcoming these vital concerns. 

    This blog delves into using chlorine dioxide gas as a potent decontamination method while highlighting the advantages of partnering with ClorDiSys, an Allentown company. Throughout the discussion, we’ll explore the versatility and effectiveness of chlorine dioxide gas, particularly within the context of laboratory animal research.  

    By shedding light on the general benefits of chlorine dioxide gas and the unique advantages of ClorDiSys proprietary gas, readers will gain insights into how this innovative decontamination approach can elevate safety standards. Also, insights on research integrity and animal welfare in laboratory environments. 

    Understanding Chlorine Dioxide Gas 

    Chlorine dioxide gas has long been recognized as a potent decontaminant, approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This yellow-green gas presents distinct advantages over hydrogen peroxide-based vapors and fogs. Unlike hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide’s gaseous nature facilitates superior distribution, penetration, and sterilization capabilities. This inherent characteristic enables it to effectively reach and control pathogens in difficult-to-access areas, thereby upholding stringent laboratory hygiene standards. 

    Notably, chlorine dioxide gas emits a recognizable odor reminiscent of chlorine, providing an additional safety measure for users and nearby personnel. While sole reliance on odor detection is not recommended, it serves as an extra layer of protection. With its unique properties, chlorine dioxide is a formidable tool in laboratory decontamination, addressing efficacy and safety concerns. 

    Supporting Evidence of the Efficacy of Chlorine Dioxide Gas   

    ClorDiSys chlorine dioxide gas is registered with the US EPA as a sterilant, the highest classification of antimicrobial product offered. This classification means that the ClorDiSys chlorine dioxide gas is proven effective at eliminating all viruses, bacteria, fungi and spores. The ClorDiSys decontamination process uses the 6-log sporicidal reduction, or sterilization-level kill, as its baseline for performance. 

    In addition, ClorDiSys chlorine dioxide gas has also been proven capable of eliminating pinworm eggs from the environment, including within animal racks, cages, transfer stations, ductwork, and other surfaces where airborne and invisible eggs can be found. A study published in the Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville describes the study and how the verified that chlorine dioxide was capable of 100% inactivation of Syphacia ova.1  

    Applying Chlorine Dioxide Gas to Lab Animal Research 

    Chlorine dioxide has long been a widely used chemical for contamination control within lab animal research environments, where microbial safety and lab animal welfare are paramount. Chlorine dioxide gas is used for many applications within research facilities.  As a true gas at room temperature, it naturally fills up the environment its introduced to evenly and completely, such that no surface is left untouched. Chlorine dioxide gas is also advantageous as its particle size is smaller than the smallest virus, meaning that no pathogen can hide from this process.

    In tandem, this allows chlorine dioxide to be used in many challenging situations, including rooms filled with equipment.  Chlorine dioxide gas travels through HEPA filters as if they weren’t there, so the decontamination of HEPA Housings, Biological Safety Cabinets, Animal Transfer Stations, and Blower Units for Animal Racks can be achieved very easily. As a dry gas, chlorine dioxide does not condense onto surfaces.  This enables it to be used to decontaminate piping systems, air plenums, ductwork, and other microenvironments.

    Supporting Evidence of the Efficacy of Chlorine Dioxide Gas   

    Chlorine dioxide gas is used within many BSL-3 and BSL-4 facilities, as well as general animal holding rooms, procedure rooms, passthrough decontamination chambers, laboratories, cold rooms, necropsy rooms, isolator systems, and much more.As highlighted in the J Med Life study, chlorine dioxide gas proves effective and safe for eliminating harmful pathogens commonly found in lab animal microenvironments.2 These pathogens may reside in cages, items brought into living areas, food, laboratory surfaces, and drinking water. Implementing proper decontamination methods in your laboratory animal facility is imperative, and chlorine dioxide gas presents an excellent solution for achieving this goal. 

    How Decontamination Can Contribute to Lab Animal Welfare and Enhanced Personnel Safety  

    In the realm of laboratory animal research, ensuring the welfare of the animals and maintaining personnel safety are top priorities. Utilizing a best-in-class contamination control program helps protect facility personnel, laboratory animals, and the quality of research itself.

    Reducing the risk of contamination entering and spreading through a facility provides the best possible canvas for research to take place, as animals will have less variables that can alter physiological and behavioral responses and give a clearer picture to the true effect of the research and results of the study.

    A robust contamination control program also protects those working within the facility.  Having a decontamination method that can provide a verifiably effective process through HEPA filters and within exhaust ductwork allows maintenance personnel to remove HEPA filters or renovation crews to safely cut into the ductwork without risk of exposure to pathogens being studied.

    Material Compatibility of Chlorine Dioxide Gas

    Many are familiar with the numerous liquid chlorine dioxide solutions utilized for surface cleaning and disinfection. Some liquid chlorine dioxide products can be acidic and have deleterious effects on stainless steel and other materials. ClorDiSys generates its chlorine dioxide gas using a proprietary method to create a residue-free, non-acidic product which is safe on electronics, stainless steel, and nearly all materials commonly found within the research environment. 

    ClorDiSys chlorine dioxide gas was chosen as the preferred decontamination process for the interior of a multi-million-dollar Transmission Electron Microscope within a BSL-4 facility due to its superior material compatibility to hydrogen peroxide.3 It is also used for the sterilization of medical devices such as pre-filled syringes, implantable contact lenses, and artificial joints where material compatibility and a lack of residue are especially critical.

    Chlorine Dioxide: Alternative to Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor 

    Supporting Evidence of the Efficacy of Chlorine Dioxide Gas   

    The Importance of Decontamination Decision-Making in Lab Animal Science  

    Overall, laboratory animal scientists face many decisions, ranging from research efficacy to the well-being of laboratory animals and personnel. Likewise, stringent adherence to contamination control is essential, which forms the cornerstone of maintaining a safe and healthy environment within laboratory facilities.  

    ClorDiSys proprietary Chlorine Dioxide Gas is an effective decontamination option, offering sterilization level kill and unparalleled benefits in laboratory animal facilities compared to traditional methods. Its efficacy in eliminating pathogens and its compatibility across various materials underscores its pivotal role in promoting research integrity and ensuring the health and safety of laboratory environments. Thus, Chlorine Dioxide emerges as a potent sterilizing agent and a testament to decision-makers commitment to upholding the highest standards of animal care within research laboratory settings. 

    Watch Our Most Recent On-Demand Webinar

    Don’t miss the chance to watch our on-demand webinar, “Speak Up About Animal Research: The Impact of Openness Around the World,” featuring Wendy Jarrett, Chief Executive of Understanding Animal Research (UAR), and Paula Clifford, MLA, CVT, RLATG, Executive Director of Americans for Medical Progress (AMP). This insightful session delves into the often misunderstood world of medical research involving animals, highlighting the urgent need for public education to counteract misinformation spread by opposition groups.

    Discover the significant consequences of limiting or banning animal studies and learn about the success of international openness initiatives in the UK and the US. Gain valuable insights into the positive impacts of transparency and how you can contribute to fostering public understanding and acceptance of this vital work. Watch the webinar on-demand now and join us in supporting the future of medical progress.


    1.  Khan, Abdullah, et al. “A systematic review on chlorine dioxide as a disinfectant.” Journal of Medicine and Life, vol. 15, no. 3, Mar. 2022,
    2. Ma, Jui-Wen, et al. “Efficacy and safety evaluation of a chlorine dioxide solution.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 14, no. 3, 22 Mar. 2017, p. 329,
    3. Sherman, Michael B., et al. “Construction and organization of a BSL-3 cryo-electron microscopy laboratory at UTMB.” Journal of Structural Biology, vol. 181, no. 3, Mar. 2013, pp. 223–233,

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