Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is a sterilant chemical used in hospitals and aseptic filling lines in food processing. The concentrations used for sterilization are much higher than the H₂O₂ in the brown bottle you are used to buying at the drugstore. Sterilant chemicals are selected for their ability to kill all forms of microbial life, including bacteria in the very resistant spore form. H₂O₂ has the advantage that it is environmentally friendly, but both the liquid and the colorless vapor are highly reactive and potentially hazardous.

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Hospitals rely on H​O to sterilize medical instruments needed in patient care. This essential task requires workers to employ high concentrations of H​O in hydrogen peroxide vapor sterilizers widely found in Sterile Processing departments.

Food & Beverage Packaging

H​O is used in high concentrations and in large quantities through aseptic packaging operations to ensure the safe production of common food and beverages. 

What Makes Hydrogen Peroxide Hazardous?

Despite its usefulness in these applications, H​O poses serious hazards and health risks. H​O is a strong oxidizing agent and contact of the liquid with organic materials such as paper or oils can lead to fires, whereas contact with skin, eyes or mucous membranes can result in chemical burns. H₂O₂ vapor reacts similarly and breathing it can result in severe damage to the lungs and respiratory system. OSHA has promulgated permissible exposure limits for H​O vapor and several organizations have developed safety guidelines for using H​O in the workplace. 

See Exposure Limits for H₂O₂ 

Common Symptoms of Exposure

Exposure to H₂O₂ can occur from inhalation or direct contact. Exceeding exposure limits can cause: 

  • Skin infection, redness, burns and irritation
  • Excessive fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Eye irritation and damage to the cornea
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting 
  • Hair discoloration and bleaching

Browse Permissible Exposure Limits 

Available Monitoring Solutions

 If your facility uses H​O, a continuous monitoring system ensures your workforce is safe.

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E-Cell Sensor

Most electrochemical sensors used to measure H​O are tested and calibrated with sulfur dioxide. ChemDAQ’s E-Cell Sensor is calibrated with pure H​O for the most accurate and consistent readings. 

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SafeCide™ Series

Quickly and easily detect hazardous areas with the SafeCide series, a portable monitoring system to provide real-time measurements on the floor and easily identify hot spots and leaks.

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Steri-Trac® Series

ChemDAQ’s premier fixed area monitoring system, the Steri-Trac series of products are designed to continuously measure and alert you to hazardous vapor levels in the air.

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Sensor Communication Interface (SCI™)

The SCI is a multi-configurable monitoring solution to accurately and reliably detect vapors throughout your facility and communicate readings to a compatible data system for enhanced connectivity.

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VaporAlert™ Series

The first and only water-resistant monitoring system on the market, the VaporAlert is designed to continuously monitor in the wet areas of your plant or department.

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