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close this bookUNHCR Guidelines on Selecting and Using Disinfectants (WHO; 1997; 45 pages) [FR]
View the documentI - Introduction
View the documentII - Definitions
open this folder and view contentsIII - Identification of needs
View the documentIV - A limited list of suggested disinfectants
open this folder and view contentsV - Specifications for utilisation of selected products
close this folderVI - Instructions for use of the main disinfectants
View the documentCetrimide
View the documentLime (Quick lime and slaked lime)
View the documentChloramine = Chloramine T = Sodium Tosylchloramide
View the documentProducts for generation of CHLORINE (Calcium hypochlorite, chlorinated lime, bleaching powder and liquid bleach, sodium dichloro-isocyanurate or NaDCC)
View the documentChlorhexidine
View the documentChlorhexidine + Cetrimide
View the documentSoapy solution of cresol - Lysol
View the documentAlcohol-based Iodine solutions (iodised alcohol, tincture of iodine)
View the documentPotassium Permanganate
View the documentIodised Polyvidone = Iodised Povidone = IPV
View the documentMethylrosanilinium chloride = Gentian violet = Gv = Crystal violet
open this folder and view contentsVII - Technical specifications for implementing disinfection
open this folder and view contentsVIII - Appendices
View the documentIX - Bibliography
View the documentEndnotes

Potassium Permanganate

The use of this drug is counter-indicated:

- the risk of its being ill-used is too high
- it is not on the WHO list of essential drugs.


- Superficial wounds
- Seeping eczema
- Mycoses, especially of the toes (athlete's foot).


- Dark violet crystals to be dissolved
- Tablets to be dissolved: they come in various dosages 0.25 g, 0.5 g and 1 g.


- Dilute 0.01% (100 mg to 1 litre of water).
- The concentration must be precise:

• if it is too concentrated, it is caustic
• if it is too diluted, it is ineffective.

A balance is necessary to obtain the right concentration from the crystals.


- Handle dry product or concentrated solutions with care (skin burns and risk of explosion if brought into contact with an easily oxidisable product).

- Take precautions to ensure that the tablets are not swallowed. Do not keep them with oral tablets. INGESTION IS VERY SERIOUS: risk of perforation of the digestive tract.

- Repeated application dries the skin.


- This product offers no particular advantages other than that it is not very costly.

- Its use is counter-indicated because of the constant errors made in diluting from crystals and the risks of the tablets being swallowed.

- Preservation:

• Dry product: protected from the air (well-closed recipient)
• Solution diluted for use: maximum one week.
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