Peracetic Acid: Beneficial... But Dangerous
Peracetic Acid (also known as PAA or Peroxyacetic Acid) is an extremely useful chemical. It is used in a variety of industries, ranging from healthcare to aseptic packaging and other foods. Additionally, it is environmentally safe, as it breaks down into acetic acid (vinegar) and water. This feature is thanks to its highly reactive properties, which also makes it a great biocide/sterilant. PAA is also approved by the FDA, and two more PAA manufacturers were recently added to the FDA’s Inventory of Effective FCS Notifications.
With all its benefits and because of how many industries use it, many workers are potentially exposed to PAA. However, its high reactivity -which makes it so useful- is also what makes it potentially dangerous. Overexposure to PAA can cause some serious health issues, including pulmonary edema, permanent lung damage, skin burns, and more.
The question: How do you know you are using PAA safety? The answer is quite simple: continuous monitoring.
By continuously monitoring, you can rest assured that your employees are safe in their working environment. Having a continuous monitor also shows your employees that you care and will make them happier and more satisfied. Safer conditions also means less sick days, resulting in an increase of productivity. Don't just take our word.
You may ask, “Why should I get a continuous monitor, when I can just get badges?” This is a good question. Badges only tell you of exposure after you and your employees have been exposed, meaning the damage has already been done. With monitoring continuously, your answer to being safe is right in front of you or your employee.
You may also say, “I don’t need continuous monitoring, I can smell the PAA!” That’s a good point, but consider this: though you may be able to smell PAA, can you tell what concentration it is? Most likely, unless your nose is as accurate as a sensor, the answer is no. Additionally, many people who work around PAA suffer from Olfactory Fatigue (also known as Systematic Desensitization in Psychology), meaning they can only smell PAA weakly or can’t smell the PAA at all, even when the ppm is far above safe levels. Without a continuous monitoring system, you won’t be able to tell if the concentration of the PAA gas and/or vapor is at a dangerous level.
PAA is a valuable chemical, with many uses, however, if not properly monitored, it can be potentially dangerous. By continuous monitoring, you can help you and your employees stay happy, healthy, and safe.