A yellowish-red explosive gas, ClO2; d. 3.09 g dm−3; m.p. –59.5°C; b.p. 9.9°C. It is soluble in cold water but decomposed by hot water to give chloric(VII) acid, chlorine, and oxygen. Because of its high reactivity, chlorine dioxide is best prepared by the reaction of sodium chlorate and moist oxalic acid at 90°–100°C, as the product is then diluted by liberated carbon dioxide. Commercially the gas is produced by the reaction of sulphuric acid containing chloride ions with sulphur dioxide. Chlorine dioxide is widely used as a bleach in flour milling and in wood pulping and also finds application in water purification.