January 11, 2018
Peracetic Acid has a vinegar smell that can be detected at concentrations well below hazardous levels, but you cannot determine if the concentrations are above or below the short-term exposure limit threshold limit value (STEL TLV) unless it is being measured. It is not uncommon then, for employees at these plants to feel the effects of exposure, which includes irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.
It is often assumed that peracetic acid is safe because it is environmentally safe. In reality, Peracetic Acid (PAA) can be harmful to you and your employees. There is potential for high PAA concentrations in the totes storage room, mixing stations and the evisceration area, under or near conveyors and dip tanks and the chillers. Long term exposure to high concentrations of PAA can lead to permanent damage to the eyes and respiratory system and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs). The chemical can also severely irritate or burn the skin on contact when in high concentrations. Because exposure to high levels of PAA is a clear health risk, Safety Managers and workers need to take the necessary steps to ensure a safe work environment. PAA is an excellent antimicrobial but it is important to ensure that it is used safely. Continuous monitoring is necessary to know your PAA levels are safe and to keep your employees protected.
For more information on PAA, download our chemical fact sheet at the link below: