Hydrogen peroxide is one of the simplest chemicals in chemistry. You can easily remember its chemical formula being written as H2O2. Thus, it actually looks like a water molecule with an extra oxygen atom but the addition of an extra O makes a lot of difference. It was the French chemist Louis Jacques Thenard that first reported the chemical in 1818. It was discovered that this peroxide was produced naturally when water droplets mixed with ozone (O3) in the high parts of the atmosphere. Rainwater containing traces of the peroxide has been collected during thunderstorms as corroborated by studies. As a result, scientists believe that the compound may occur naturally and may be present in minute quantities in lakes and streams. In fact, animals produce small amounts of this compound to destroy pathogenic microorganisms.
Although you cannot drink this peroxide, you may find out that some water supplies contain safe doses of the chemical. For instance, water systems in Europe contain some hydrogen peroxide (also known as hydrogen dioxide). The compound may form during the introduction of ozone as part of water disinfection. The production of the peroxide sterilizes drinking water by destroying viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other harmful microorganisms. Some experts say that you can find the peroxide chemical in fruits and vegetables that you eat and it comes from rainwater. Did you know that rainwater with traces of hydrogen dioxide is better absorbed by plants? This compound gives the body more oxygen which is vital for metabolism. Coming across health benefits from a peroxide chemical is a little bit strange for many people because the chemical is known for its limited applications in humans. The only thing we know about it is that it can be used as a mouthwash and antiseptic. No hygienic or healthful purposes have been popularly documented about this compound, but writings about health benefits of ingestion of hydrogen dioxide exist. You don’t need to make your own dilution of this peroxide because you can get a healthy supply from fruits and vegetables which get their peroxide stock from rainwater.
Hardly ever that hydrogen dioxide comes as a pure chemical because it is usually accompanied by water. In fact, the pure substance may dissociate eventually to water and oxygen gas. Thus, you can successfully dilute the solution by letting it stand in the open. Concentrated solutions boil well above a hundred degrees Celsius and freeze below zero degree. It is known as a combustible or flammable substance but it can react violently with combustible materials. While it may be volatile if exposed in air or contaminants, it can display stability under controlled conditions.
As earlier mentioned, small amounts of this compound in water can be a good antiseptic, bleach, oxidizer, and laboratory chemical. Household grade of this compound is a 3% solution which is the one you find in first aid kits as a wound rinsing agent.
We know that this peroxide destroys bacteria but what we don’t know is that it discriminates between good and bad bacteria. According to proponents of hydrogen peroxide therapy, this chemical kills anaerobic bacteria which are usually the disease-causing type. Anaerobes cannot thrive in oxygen rich environments. Proponents of the so-called peroxide therapy have looked into the possible benefits of peroxide enema which is the introduction of peroxide solution into the colon via a tube that drains the fluid into the rectum. There have also been suggestions of introducing a safe concentration of the peroxide into the body orally or intravenously. However, all such suggestions have been turned down by the medical society due to likelihood of adverse effects. Some medical scientists believe that the antiseptic peroxide is present in the body but as a waste product and not as an essential nutrient for cells. This debate on the safety of peroxide therapy shall go on for years to come.