Hydrogen Peroxide is a biocidal chemical often used in healthcare sterile processing and food processing. While necessary for sterilization and disinfection, hydrogen peroxide is a highly corrosive chemical. Know the facts for process management and safety.
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Applications for Hydrogen Peroxide sterilization:
- Sterilization of medical instruments and packs
- Aseptic packaging and bottling
- Anti-microbial fogging
- Bleaching agent
Regulations & Industry Standards for Hydrogen Peroxide Sterilization
The hazards associated with exposure to hydrogen peroxide vapor are well known. The occupational exposure limits for this compound is consistent among the more widely used governmental and professional organizations:
OSHA General Duty Clause
The OSHA general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires that each employer furnish to each of its employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
8 Hour Time Weighted Averages (TWA)
OSHA Permissible Exposure Level: 1.0 ppm
ACGIH Threshold Limit Value: 1.0 ppm
NIOSH Recommended Exposure Level: 1.0 ppm
DFG MAK (Germany): 0.5 ppm
United Kingdom: 1.0 ppm
Short Term Exposure Limits (15 minute TWA)
Washington & Hawaii States: 3 ppm
United Kingdom: 2 ppm
NW territories: 2 ppm
Saskatchewan: 2 ppm
Yukon: 2 ppm
Finland: 3 ppm
Switzerland: 2 ppm
ACGIH Excursion Limit
Excursion LImit Recommendation: "Excursions in worker exposure levels may exceed 3 times the TLV-TWA for no more than a total of 30 minutes during a work day, and under no circumstances should they exceed 5 times the TLV-TWA, provided that the TLV-TWA is not exceeded".
Therefore, applying this recommendation to hydrogen peroxide (TWA-TLV = 1ppm), workers may be exposed to no more than 3 ppm for no more than 30 minutes a day and a ceiling level of 5 ppm.
Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health
NIOSH: 75 ppm
Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPG)
ERPG(1) 10 ppm (mild, transient effects) for up to 1 hr exposure
ERPG(2) 50 ppm (without serious effects) for up to 1 hr exposure
ERPG(3) 100 ppm (not life threatening) up to 1 hr exposure