A press release at PhysOrg states that Dr. Newsome of the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and some students are involved in the investigation of effectiveness of chlorine dioxide gas in killing germs that live in sports equipment such as helmets and knee pads:
According to Newsome, use of the chemical to kill germs is not new. It has a long history of use as a disinfectant, and it is used worldwide to treat tap water and preserve food. Unfortunately, it is too unstable to ship as a gas and must be produced on site. Historically, this has required bulky equipment and training of personnel to operate the equipment.
What makes his research significant is the new method used to generate chlorine dioxide. Instead of bulky equipment, he is using a system involving a dry chemical powder stored in a container about the size of a salt shaker. When the powder is activated small amounts of chlorine dioxide gas is released.
The chemical system used in the tests was produced by ICA TriNova of Newnan, Ga. In 2001, Joel Tenney, the company’s executive vice president, and several other individuals with backgrounds in public health and chemical engineering developed technology for a new method of producing small amounts of chlorine dioxide to meet specific needs. Tenney says his company’s system differs from older methods of chlorine dioxide generation in that it’s portable and simple to apply.
Early in the company’s development, ICA TriNova showed that its products could be used effectively to deodorize and decontaminate military clothing and equipment, and these products are currently being used by some U.S. troops overseas to deodorize protective body armor. From these uses, the idea emerged that it might also be used to kill bacteria associated with athletic equipment such as football pads.