- Abstract The dependency of free halogen ion oxidation in chemical oxygen demand (COD) assays on the organic content of the sample was investigated. Halogen interference was reduced at increasing glucose or potassium hydrogen phthalate concentration; in each case, a threshold ratio of organic matter to halogen existed, above which halogen oxidation was masked. This ratio depended upon the presence of mercuric sulfate in the case of chloride but not of bromide. It was also affected by the ease of oxidation of both the organic molecule and the halogen ion, as well as by their actual COD. Thus, bromide oxidation was more difficult to prevent than that of chloride, and phthalate exerted a stronger masking effect than glucose.