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An Iodophor is a preparation containing iodine complexed with a solubilizing agent, such as a surfactant or povidone (forming povidone-iodine). The result is a water-soluble material that releases free iodine when in solution. Iodophors are prepared by mixing iodine with the solubilizing agent; heat can be used to speed up the reaction.
Diluted iodophor is often used by brewers and winemakers to sanitize equipment and bottles. Its major advantage over other sanitizers is that when used in proper proportions it does not require rinsing. However, it can leave unattractive orange-brown stains on plastic parts and equipment that it is left in contact with.
It is often supplied in different concentrations and is further diluted with water before use. The label will advise the appropriate dilution ratio, commonly 1:1000 or 1:100. Equipment to be sanitized should be thoroughly clean and left in contact with the solution for at least 2 minutes.
Diluted iodophor is also used extensively in the dairy industry.
"Based on a review of the available toxicology data, the [US EPA] has concluded that iodine and iodophor complexes are of very low toxicity by the oral, dermal, and inhalation routes of exposure."
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