Disinfectants are chemicals that are applied to objects and surfaces in order to eliminate microorganisms that thrive on them. Different varieties of disinfectants are applied for different purpose. Some disinfectants are strong and are effective against a wide spectrum of microorganisms, while some are mild and applicable to eliminate only certain disease causing organisms. Disinfectants can be broadly segregated into three main types, namely, air disinfectants, water disinfectants and surface disinfectant. A variety of chemicals are used in different proportions to manufacture disinfectants applicable for various purposes.
Alcohols such as ethanol and isopropanol have been observed to be good general purpose disinfectants. 70% to 90% concentration of these alcohols can effectively act against lipophilic viruses. However, it is not effective against bacterial spores or non lipid virus as the contact time is less owing to high volatility of the substance. Chlorine compounds are the most common house hold disinfectants. Sodium hypochlorite is the main ingredient in house hold bleaches. It has sufficient contact time and inactivates the bacterial spores. Disinfectant solutions containing 50 to 500 parts per million of chlorine is effective against most vegetative bacteria and viruses. However, chlorine is rendered ineffective upon exposure to light and air, and hence should be carefully packaged or prepared fresh before application. Formalin is another widely used disinfectant. 5% concentration of formalin has the power to inactivate most bacteria and viruses. Glutaraldehyde is another very effective disinfectant. The compound is closely related to formalin but is much more active biologically. Glutaraldehyde can effectively disinfect bacterial spores, fungi and most viruses. Apart from the aforementioned chemicals, hydrogen peroxide, calcium hypochlorites, chloramines and chloramines T are some of the widely used disinfectant chemicals.
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The disinfectant market is driven by the general consciousness to disinfect surroundings and live healthy. The recent outbreaks of flu such as avian flu and swine flu and other infectious diseases in different parts of the world, have triggered the use of disinfectants all over the world. The initiatives of cleaning and disinfecting surroundings to contain such outbreaks of fatal diseases have been on the rise, with governments promoting disinfection in all public places and individual homes. Scarcity of safe drinking water in many parts of the world has also resulted in the growth of water disinfectant market. Water disinfectants such as chloramines have witnessed high growth in the recent years.
Although disinfectant chemicals market has witnessed substantial growth, there are some concerns for the market as well. Some disinfectants such as formalin and glutaraldehye are very effective in killing bacteria, however, they are toxic in nature and over exposure to these chemicals are hazardous to human as well. Occupational exposure to these chemicals is extremely harmful and proper precautions and protective clothing is absolutely necessary.
North America is the largest market for disinfectants in the world and is expected to grow at a brisk pace in the foreseeable future. Europe region accounted for the second largest market share in terms of demand followed by Asia Pacific. The market growth rate in Asia Pacific region is high and the region is expected to account for a larger market share in the foreseeable future owing to its rising population as well as standard of living.
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Some of the main companies operating in this market are DuPont, 3M, ABC Compounding Co., Inc., and Cardinal Health, Inc., among many others.
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