December 2, 2020
By News Director Jared Atha
Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford is now home to a machine that makes hypochlorous acid that is used to help disinfectant rooms and buildings during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The product is also available to not only the university, but to local communities as well.
SWOSU was made aware of the machine by the Custer County Emergency Management Office, and the equipment was supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Oklahoma Emergency Management Office.
SWOSU is serving as a manufacturing site. When salt water is electrolyzed, it produces an anolyte solution that consists of water, chloride salt and hypochlorous acid. SWOSU Administration and Finance Vice President Brenda Burgess said the acid is a powerful oxidant that is effective against invading bacteria, fungi and viruses and can be used in healthcare, food safety, water treatment and general sanitation.
Hypochlorous acid, unlike chlorine bleach, is 100% safe and non-irritant. If it gets on a person’s skin or eyes, it will not burn; yet it is 70-80 times more efficient at killing microbial pathogens than chlorine bleach.
Burgess said the downside to the solution is that it does not have a long shelf life – less than 60 days.
The university is serving as a distributor of the product for western Oklahoma and the product can be used by anyone. IBC tanks and totes are available now at the Elk City Fire Department, the Clinton Fire Department, and the Clinton Public Schools Administration Building. The Weatherford Fire Department will have the product available by Monday, December 14. Officials say these places should be called first to make sure staff is available. There could be additional locations soon.
Information provided by SWOSU Public Relations & Marketing