4 Common Chemical Oxidizing Agents – Examples and Impacts

Oxidizing chemicals are chemicals that act as oxidizing agents in a reaction. This occurs because of the transfer of electrons or the loss of electrons from other substrates.

For more details, let’s look at an example of the reaction below.

MnO2 + H2SO4 + NaI → MnSO4 + Na2SO4 + H2O + I2
+4 -2 +1 +6-2 +1-1 +2 +6 -2 +1 +6 -2 +1 -2 0

Reduction: MnO2 MnSO4 (MnO2 as an oxidizing agent)
Oxidation: NaI I2 (NaI as reducing agent)

Oxidizing chemicals have many arguable examples, although they are not available in nature, generally they are in the form in salt. Therefore, if you want to get these chemicals materials purely, you have to go through several processes that start from the electrolysis process or by oxidizing the halide compound (X-).

Examples of Oxidizing Chemicals

Here are the common chemical oxidizing agents:

1. Fluorine

Fluorine is a compound of VIIA group that usually referred to as halogen group. Halogen group consists of Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine and Astatine. The characteristic of the halogen group from the top to down in its oxidizing characteristic is getting weaker, but Astatine is not included as an oxidizer because Astatine is a radioactive compound. Also read about radioactive chemicals.

Due to that characteristic of halogen group, Fluorine is a compound with the strongest oxidizing characteristic among other compounds in the VIIA group. In the process of making, Fluorine can not be obtained by oxidizing the halide compound, but through the electrolysis process, shown as follows. Electrolysis is carried out in places made of steel, where as a steel cathode and as a carbon anode (graphite).


KHF2 → K + + HF2- (electrolysis process of hydrogen fluoride salt KHF2)
HF2- → H + + 2F (KHF2 dissolved in liquid HF)
Codes: 2H + + 2e → H2
Anode: 2F- → F2 + 2e

2. Chlorine

Common chemical oxidizing agents – Chlorine is a green color member of VIIA group that can not be found freely in nature but in a combined form such as NaCl (strong electrolyte) or in mineral formations such as sylvite and carnallite. Chlorine is a yellowish green gas compound that has stinging smell and poisonous when there is direct contact with our body. Chlorine is three times heavier than air.

3. Bromine

Bromine is a dark red colored halogen group member that is corrosive when in the form of a solution. Bromine has a higher level of consistency than water and serves for water purification as well as for medical purposes. Also read about explosive chemicals.

4. Iodine

Common chemical oxidizing agents – Iodine or commonly also called iodine is a non-metallic compound that is abundant in air, soil, and water, especially sea water. Iodine has an important role for our metabolism. One of it is the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland is easy to enlarge or swell if your body lacks of iodine. However, if iodine doses in the body is too much, we will also have an overdose. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, shortness of breath, etc. 

The Impact of Oxidizing Chemicals

Oxidizing chemicals consisting of VIIA group and others have various impacts, whether it is a good impacts or bad impacts. The various impacts will be discussed one by one down below:

1. Fluorine

  • Environmental impact
    Fluorine has a good effect on plant fertility in sufficient doses, if the fluorine concentration is too high, it can reduce the amount of crops. However, if the fluorine concentration is too low, it can make the plant lack of nutrition and inhibit growth. Also read about examples of biotechnology in the environmental field.
  • Health impact
    Fluorine is the main ingredient found in the toothpaste which we use to clean our teeth from dirt every day. That is why, it can be said that fluorine is a good material for health. However, do not get it wrong. Fluorine that we find every day can also be harmful to our health if the use is excessive. Excessive use of fluorine can cause fluorosis. Fluorosis is a tooth decay caused by high fluorine concentrations (above 1000ppm).

2. Chlorine

  • Environmental impact
    Chlorine plays an important role to the environment around us. Due to the presence of chlorine, the Na (Sodium) contained in seawater can dissolve. When the land is close to the sea, or coastal edge, it has high level of chloride. If a land is far from sea, the amount of chloride is low. The amount of chloride suitable for a plant to grow is it contains of 10 ppm chloride, because chloride is the main micronutrient for chlorophyll plants.
  • Impact on health
    Chlorine is a chemical compound in the form of gas, so it will be very easy for chlorine to be inhaled. The danger of the chlorine depends on the duration of exposure on someone. Also read about the impact of biotechnology in the field of health.  

3. Bromine

  • Environmental impact
    Bromine is widely used as an insecticide. Insecticides help a lot of farmers to avoid plants from insects that are disadvantageous to plant growth. However, insecticides are still dangerous when used with an excessive amount, because insecticides can pollute the soil and it becomes infertile, also pollute the waters of the river that causes organisms are poisoned and death.
  • Impact on health
    Bromine is an insecticide material, so of course bromine can be quite dangerous, because it works to kill insects. Even bromine is also quite dangerous for large-size mammals like humans. Bromine can enter the human body in several ways. It can enter human body by inhalation when bromine is in the form of gas, it can also be through the skin when the liquid bromine is directly contacted with skin. Bromine is corrosive when it contacts the skin, making it very dangerous.

4. iodine

  • Environmental impact
    Iodine is often found in the air from of the seawater evaporation which will then descend in the form of rain and seep into the soil. Iodine also has radioactive characteristics. Iodine is radioactive in a reaction between uranium and plutonium. Also read about complementary air.
  • Impact on health
    As we already know, Iodine is the main ingredient of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroid gland is a hormone that is needed by the human body, because the thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating human metabolism.

Thus explanation of common chemical oxidizing agents. May be useful for our knowledge about chemistry field.