Peracetic Acid

Peracetic Acid (PAA) is a disinfectant chemical used by hospitals and the food processing industry. It is very effective for killing microscopic organisms hiding in and on surfaces, but it decomposes to acetic acid, the acid in vinegar, and thus leaves no harmful residues on the food. PAA is a colorless liquid, highly reactive and has a strong vinegar like odor that you can smell at very low levels. 

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Common Applications

Food & Beverage Packaging

PAA is often applied directly to fresh fruits and vegetables to kill pathogens. PAA is also in aseptic manufacturing processes, since aseptic packaging greatly extends the shelf life of common food and beverages.


Hospitals rely on PAA to high-level disinfect medical instruments needed in patient care as well as treat hard surfaces in patient rooms. While the concentration in the PAA solutions used for room sanitation is lower than for high-level disinfection, both applications can result in occupational exposure to PAA vapor.

Protein Processing

PAA is used in poultry and meat processing. PAA is distributed to various areas of the processing plant to kill harmful bacteria such as listeria and salmonella directly on the meat and on surfaces to meet USDA food safety guidelines.

What Makes Peracetic Acid Hazardous?

Peracetic acid is a strong oxidizing agent, and contact of the more concentrated solutions can cause bleaching of the skin, and eye damage. Inhalation of the vapor can cause damage to the lungs and respiratory system. To help protect workers, occupational exposure limits and safety guidelines for using PAA in the workplace have been developed. At concentrations of 15% or higher, PAA is also highly reactive and poses a risk of fire and explosion hazards if it contacts combustible or organic materials such as paper. 

See Exposure Limits for PAA 

Common Symptoms of Exposure

Exposure to PAA can occur from inhalation or direct contact. Exceeding exposure limits can cause: 

  • Eye irritation, cornea burns and eye damage
  • Asthma, labored breathing, shortness of breath and excessive fluid buildup in the lungs
  • Nose and throat irritation and coughing
  • Skin irritation, redness and blisters (liquid PAA)

Browse Permissible Exposure Limits 

Available Monitoring Solutions

 If your facility uses PAA, a continuous monitoring system could save a life.

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E-Cell Sensor

ChemDAQ was the first to develop a sensor to detect PAA in the workplace. Our E-Cell sensor for PAA is compatible with all of our monitoring solutions.

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SafeCide™ Series

Quickly and easily detect hazardous areas the SafeCide series, a portable monitoring system to provide real-time measurements on the floor and easily identify hot spots and leaks.

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Steri-Trac® Series

ChemDAQ’s premier fixed area monitoring system, the Steri-Trac series of products are designed to continuously measure and alert you to hazardous vapor levels in the air.

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Sensor Communication Interface (SCI™)

The SCI is a multi-configurable monitoring solution to accurately and reliably detect vapors throughout your facility and communicate readings to a compatible data system for enhanced connectivity.

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VaporAlert™ Series

The first and only water-resistant monitoring system on the market, the VaporAlert is designed to continuously monitor in the wet areas of your plant.

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Control Solutions

PAA Abatement

In addition to providing real-time monitoring systems, ChemDAQ is working alongside Leidos, a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology leader, to bring to fruition a first of its kind Peracetic Acid Abatement System to significant reduce workplace exposure to PAA.

Learn more about PAA Abatement Technology

Leading Brands Monitor for PAA

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