A 10-year critical review on hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant: could it be an alternative for household water treatment?


Kamila Jessie Sammarro Silva & Lyda Patricia Sabogal-Paz

This blog post was written by the author of a recent Water Supply paper and summarises the key features of the research and its implications.


Household water treatment (HWT) technologies may play a role in achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 6, which calls for safe drinking water for all by 2030. HWTs are designed for decentralized implementation, to be installed at the residential level, for providing safe water to family unities. A large fraction of the global population still relies on self-supplied drinking water systems. These are typically sourced from wells, boreholes or rainwater harvesting, often lacking proper treatment, so HWT conceptions may specifically act in such scenarios.

HWTs, in general, have challenges of their own, including context-specific water quality, targets, technology transfer and behavior change. This is why questioning whether a disinfectant could be useful in household water systems requires an investigation of previous research. This was the goal of our review and the disinfectant under study was hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).

H2O2 disinfection has been widely known as an effective approach for microorganism inactivation. There are reports of hydrogen peroxide-based decontamination of many environments, including the food industry, and versatile applications from public transportation to clinic settings. Based on such potential, we asked: could H2O2 be an alternative for household water treatment?

Aiming to map published data to answer this question, our review paper, presents systematically organized information extracted from articles covering hydrogen peroxide-based disinfection from 2011 to 2021. Filtered content on main targets and surfaces as well as research field and forms of application was semi-quantitatively analyzed by network visualization, a novel approach to systematic reviews. Additionally, we discussed which limitations and prospects are there for hydrogen peroxide disinfection as a HWT research and implementation, based on retrieved records.

Overall, our review organizes collected information from recent literature and invites experimental research specifically considering HWT, as a gap was found in this field. This paper was part of the first author’s (Kamila Jessie Sammarro Silva) PhD thesis.


The article can be read in full over on the Water Supply web page.

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