Peracetic Acid (PAA)
Air Monitoring

Monitoring Your Environment

Getting To Know Peracetic Acid

Peracetic Acid (Peroxyacetic Acid or PAA) is highly reactive, it leaves no harmful residue, which makes it the chemical of choice when dealing with microbes and bacteria.  Peracetic Acid is an effective biocide/disinfectant, but can pose a risk to workers when exposed to unsafe levels. Peracetic Acid (PAA) is an organic peroxyacid that forms an equilibrium mixture with hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid.  PAA is a highly corrosive chemical and contact/inhaling can cause severe reactions.

In healthcare, the demand for faster turnaround time of heat sensitive reprocessed multiple-use medical devices led to the development of Peracetic Acid liquid sterilization, given ethylene oxide’s longer required aeration time at the end of the sterilization cycle to vent the gas. In addition, the food packaging and waste water treatment industries have adopted Peracetic Acid as a preferred disinfectant and sterilant wash because of its environmental properties.

Applications for Peracetic Acid (PAA)

  • Disinfection of bottles and beverage containers
  • Disinfection of poultry, meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and other food items
  • Waste water treatment facilities
  • Fracking, gas and oil operations
  • Eliminates powdery mildew on plants

Keep your employees safe by monitoring peracetic acid in the workplace.

What are the dangers of Peracetic Acid vapor exposure?

Peracetic Acid is a highly corrosive chemical used in both health care and industrial settings as a highly effective disinfectant.  PAA is highly reactive, it leaves no residue, that is why it is the chemical of choice when dealing with microbes and bacteria.  However, this same reactivity that underlies its benefits also means that excessive exposure to its vapors can be harmful and lead to health issues.  Peracetic Acid has a vinegar type odor, even at low levels, so the challenge becomes knowing if your level of exposure is safe... whether you smell it or not.  If you are working around Peracetic Acid and do not smell it, it's more than likely it is due to olfactory fatigue.  Olfactory fatigue is also known as nose blindness or odor fatigue.

  • Eye irritation : eye damage after prolonged exposure

  • Nose and throat irritation

  • Asthma associated with workplace exposures

  • Respiratory distress: fluid in the lungs after high level 
    of exposure

  • Skin irritation dermatitis

  • Data on animals showed: hemorrhage, edema, and pulmonary consolidation

Regulations/ Guidelines

Exposure limits and guidelines when using peracetic acid have been set by a number of national agencies including the following:

OSHA: Occupational and Safety Health Administration
OSHA Hazard Communications 29 CFR 1910.1200

JC: Joint Commission
Joint Commission Standard EC.02.02.01

ACGIH: American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist
ACGIH Threshold Limit Values TLV :  0.4 ppm 

AAMI: Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrument
AAMI ST:41:1999 and ST:58:2013

Monitoring solutions for Peracetic Acid.

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Regulations, Industry Standards and safety information on Peracetic Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Ethylene Oxide.