Exposure Limits for Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide Permissible Exposure Limits
The hazards associated with of Hydrogen Peroxide vapor exposure are well known. Hydrogen Peroxide has permissible exposure limits (PEL) that date back to the 1950s and are consistent across government and professional organizations.
Short Term Recommended Exposure Limit
The 15-minute Time Weighted Averages (TWA) for Hydrogen Peroxide vary by country.
United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland: 2 parts per million (ppm)
Finland: 3 ppm
Hawaii and Washington in the United States: 3 ppm
In addition to permissible exposure limits, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommends specified, time-bound exposure restrictions for Hydrogen Peroxide sterilant safety. Based on ACGIH excursion limits, worker exposure levels can’t exceed more than 3 ppm for more than 30 minutes a day and at a ceiling level of 5 ppm.
OSHA General Duty Clause
Section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act – otherwise known as the General Duty Clause – was formalized in 1970 to enforce workplace safety standards. The General Duty Clause states:
Employers have a legal duty to provide a safe work environment free from hazards
Employees have the right to a safe work environment
OSHA can issue citations and fines for not following the required permissible exposure limits
Hazard Communication Standard
The Hazard Communication Standard outlined in the OSHA Act was updated in 2012 to ensure employers and suppliers use chemicals such as Hydrogen Peroxide safely in the workplace.
Communicate all hazard regulations with labels
Provide Hydrogen Peroxide Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
Share best practices
Implement safety training
Supply personal protective equipment
A standard set of pictograms developed by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and adopted by OSHA is used in the workplace to quickly communicate hazards to employees.