Summary and Exposure Limits

Compound Ethylene Oxide Hydrogen Peroxide Peractic Acid
OSHA1 8hr/15min PEL2 1 ppm / 5 ppm 1 ppm / – – / –
ACGIH3 8hr/15min TLV4 1 ppm / – 1 ppm / – – / 0.4 ppm
HSE5 8hr/15 WEL6 5 ppm / – 1 ppm / 2 ppm – / –
NIOSH7 IDLH8 800 ppm 75 ppm 0.55 ppm (proposed)
Cancer Status IACR: Carcinogenic to Humans; ACGIH: Suspected Human Carcinogen IACR: Not Classifiable as to Carcinogenicity in Humans; ACGIH: Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans ACGIH: Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
Odor Threshold 400 to 700 ppm Almost no odor 50 ppb
1 OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
2 PEL Permissible Exposure Limit
3 ACGIH American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists
4 TLV Threshold Limit Value
5 HSE Health, Safety, and the Environment, UK
6 WEL Workplace Exposure Limit
7 NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
8 IDLH Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health

Peracetic Acid

  • Peracetic acid is very corrosive and on contact can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes.
  • Inhalation of the vapor can irritate the note and throat, cause coughing and/or shortness of breath.
  • Greater exposure can cause a pulmonary edema with severe shortness of breath (medical emergency) and may affect liver and kidneys.

Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Hydrogen peroxide can be toxic if ingested, inhaled, or by contact with the skin or eyes.
  • Inhalation of vapors from > 10% solutions may result in severe pulmonary irritation.
  • Eye exposure to 3% hydrogen peroxide may result in pain and irritation, but severe injury is rare. More concentrated solution may result in ulceration or perforation of the cornea.
  • Skin with concentrated solutions may cause severe skin burns with blisters.

Ethylene Oxide

  • Acute exposures to EtO gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and cyanosis.
  • Chronic exposure has been associated with the occurrence of cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, neurotoxicity, and sensitization.

IACR Classification of Carcinogens:
Group 1: carcinogenic to humans.
Group 2A: probably carcinogenic to humans.
Group 2B: possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Group 3: not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.
Group 4: probably not carcinogenic to humans.

ACGIH Classification of Carcinogens:
A1) Confirmed human Carcinogen
A2) Suspected Human Carcinogen
A3) Confirmed Animal Carcinogen with Unknown Relevance to Humans
A4) Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen
A5) Not suspected as a Human Carcinogen


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