Hydrogen Peroxide-a Cautious Usefulness

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2019-08-21 07:51:07

Credit: indiamart.com

Credit: indiamart.com

Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide with a chemical formula H2O2. Hydrogen peroxide is an unstable compound in the presence of a base or catalyst, and is typically stored with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution. If heated to its boiling point, it may undergo potentially explosive thermal decomposition. Hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic peroxide consisting of two hydroxy groups joined by a covalent oxygen-oxygen single bond. It has a role as an oxidizing agent, a disinfectant, an explosive, an antimicrobial agent, a cofactor, a human xenobiotic metabolite, an apoptosis inducer, a GABA antagonist, a neurotoxin, a genotoxin, a biomarker, a Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolite, an Escherichia coli metabolite, a mouse metabolite and a bleaching agent. It is an inorganic peroxide and a member of reactive oxygen species. It is a conjugate acid of a hydrogenperoxide(1-). Hydrogen peroxide is a colorless liquid at room temperature with a bitter taste. Small amounts of gaseous hydrogen peroxide occur naturally in the air. Hydrogen peroxide is unstable, decomposing readily to oxygen and water with release of heat. Although nonflammable, it is a powerful oxidizing agent that can cause spontaneous combustion when it comes in contact with organic material.

Hydrogen peroxide is formed in the body of mammals during reduction of oxygen either directly in a two-electron transfer reaction. As a natural product of metabolism, it readily undergoes decomposition by catalase in normal cells. Due to its potent and broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions, hydrogen peroxide is used in both liquid and gas form for preservative, disinfection and sterilization applications as an oxidative biocide. It is used in industrial and cosmetic applications as a bleaching agent. It is used as an antimicrobial agent in starch and cheese products, and as an oxidizing and reducing agent in products containing dried eggs, dried egg whites, and dried egg yolks. Hydrogen peroxide and its relative, carbamide peroxide, are used in tooth bleaching materials. These preparations are sold for home use and in dental offices. Because hydrogen peroxide is known to be irritating to tissues, home users must follow directions closely to avoid problems. Tooth sensitivity may occur during treatment along with gum irritation. Anyone who chooses to use a home tooth-bleaching product should first consult with a dental professional.


  • Remove Blood Stains
  • Remove Wine, Chocolate, Grass and Armpit Stains
  • Remove Stains From Marble
  • Kill Mold
  • Clean Toilets
  • Sanitize Cutting Boards and Disinfect Surfaces
  • Hydrogen peroxide is found in many households at low concentrations (3-9%) for medicinal applications and as a clothes and hair bleach.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic used on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
  • It may also be used as a mouth rinse to help remove mucus or to relieve minor mouth irritation (e.g., due to canker/cold sores, gingivitis).
  • In industry, hydrogen peroxide in higher concentrations is used as a bleach for textiles and paper, as a component of rocket fuels, and for producing foam rubber and organic chemicals.

Role in biological earth

Most of us think of hydrogen peroxide as a sterilizing agent, normally found in disinfectants and mouthwash. But researchers have suggested that this highly energetic and reactive compound may have played a critical role in the origin of life. Their “Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) Crucible Hypothesis” lays out the multiple ways the compound may have figured in the evolution of the first cell. One question not addressed by the HP Crucible Hypothesis is where life may have originated on Earth. Ionizing radiation early in our planet’s history could have produced rain spiked with hydrogen peroxide, which would have fallen on the land and sea. In order to play a critical role in pre-biology, it would have had to accumulate in high concentrations, however. Land surfaces would have been more conducive to this, because the water in the mixture would have evaporated, leaving the heavier hydrogen peroxide behind in a more concentrated form. That would argue against the undersea origin of life proposed by many scientists. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms bound together. With twice the amount of oxygen as a molecule of water, it would have been a great source of chemical energy, and could have facilitated the prebiological evolution toward the RNA world—the stage in the development of life on Earth that many scientists believe to have existed before DNA and proteins appeared.  Even on Earth, hydrogen peroxide comes in handy, biologically speaking. The cells in our own bodies produce it to mediate a wide range of physiological responses. The most spectacular example of a biological application, though, may be the Bombardier beetle, which, when threatened, sprays out a 25-percent hydrogen peroxide-water solution from its rear end.

Presence in Space

Researchers also suggested that microorganisms on Mars might use a water/hydrogen peroxide mixture rather than just water as an intracellular liquid. This could explain the extremely small amount of organic material seen on Mars, as hydrogen peroxide may have immediately oxidized any released organics. The freezing point of such a mixture is very low, and the hygroscopic properties of hydrogen peroxide would allow cells to extract water directly from the atmosphere, which would be a great adaptation mechanism for any Martian microbe.


  • This product should not be used to treat deep wounds, animal bites, or serious burns.
  • Do not use in the eyes or apply over large areas of skin.
  • While using this product on the skin, clean the affected area before use.
  • Apply a small amount of product on the affected area, usually 1 to 3 times daily or as directed by the doctor.
  • While using this product as a mouth rinse, mix with an equal amount of water before using.
  • Swish in the mouth over the affected area for at least 1 minute, then spit out. Do not swallow this product.
  • Redness, stinging, or irritation at the application site may occur.
  • Hydrogen peroxide loses it's activity quickly when it's exposed to air or sunlight, so keep it in the brown bottle it came in until ready to use it.
  • Do not mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar as combining the two will form peracetic acid, which could irritate skin, eyes and respiratory system, and even cause permanent damage to lungs.