Hospitalization in the Endoscope Reprocessing Department

Peracetic Acid Spill Inside Endoscope Reprocessor. A hospital in Halifax had a relatively small spill of peracetic acid inside an automatic endoscope reprocessor in the urology department. Even though only about two table spoons (~30 ml) spilt, it resulted in one person being sent to the emergency room for observation and a Hazmat crew from the local fire department being called in to deal with it. Even a small spill such as this one can cause significant disruption, probably result in delays in the reprocessing of scopes, which in turn can impact patients.

Six staff treated after Portlaoise hospital Peracetic Acid leak. Six members of staff at a hospital in Portlaoise received treatment following a leak of Peracetic Acid from an endoscopy machine. The incident was made safe by Laois County Fire and Rescue Service and was confined to a localised area in one room of the hospital. Fire service personnel wearing gas-tight suits and breathing apparatus contained the leak and declared the area safe.

PAA spill causes Hazmat crew to evacuate woman giving birth. "The woman giving birth and operating staff were not injured by the spill, however, they all had to be evacuated to a secondary operating theatre. The chemical is believed to be peracetic acid - a powerful disinfectant used to sterilise medical equipment - and firefighters had to wear breathing apparatus and splash suits due to the hazardous nature of the material. Hazmat crews and emergency services had to be called in to help deal with the spill."

Peracetic acid is an important compound in both healthcare and food processing since it is a very effective antimicrobial but rapidly brakes down to harmless byproducts in the environment thus leaving endoscopes and lettuces free of harmful residues. However those people using peracetic acid run the risk of exposure even with the best equipment. Peracetic acid can be used safely with the appropriate equipment (modern reprocessor, ventilation, continuous gas monitoring system for PAA),  work procedures and training (e.g. what to do in the case of a spill). A modern reprocessor will reduce the chance of a spill due to less wear and tear and better technology, ventilation will help to quicken the process it takes to rid the room of the hazardous chemical vapor and a continuous real time monitor will let employees know when a spill occurs and the vapor concentration returned to a safer level.

PAA has many advantages, but if you use PAA in your day to day operations it is important to be prepared for the worst since a small peracetic acid spill can cause a lot of trouble. This statement does not disparage PAA, since it applies equally well to any chemical biocide.

Contact ChemDAQ below to understand how to control PAA in your environment.