What is Peracetic Acid (PAA)?
Peracetic Acid 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. Within minutes, it can wipe out bacteria, fungi, yeasts, spores and viruses.
Chemical Properties of Peracetic Acid
Combining hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid and water will produce Peracetic Acid. It is a colorless liquid, highly reactive and has a strong vinegar like odor that you can smell at very low levels. It's most effective at high concentration levels, which produces a gas vapor that is hazardous with acute exposure.
What is olfactory fatigue? It's a dangerous condition that occurs when you work around Peracetic Acid all the time and can no longer smell it. It's impossible to know if your exposure level is safe without monitoring equipment.
At concentrations of 15% or higher, the chemical is highly reactive. Without proper training and safety precautions in place, there is a risk of fire and explosion hazards.
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Common Applications for Peracetic Acid in the Workplace
Peracetic Acid disinfection is used in poultry and meat processing. The chemical is distributed to various areas of the processing plant to kill bacteria and meet USDA food safety guidelines.
Sterilizing Medical Instruments
Hospitals rely on Peracetic Acid sterilization for medical instruments. This is an essential task for patient safety and requires workers to use high concentrations in sterilization equipment.
The chemical is applied directly to fresh fruits and vegetables to kill bacteria. Peracetic Acid is the ideal disinfectant as it is very reactive, quickly decomposes and does not leave behind any harmful residues.
Packaging Food & Beverages
Peracetic Acid helps extend the shelf life of food and beverages. The chemical is used in a specialized manufacturing process where food is sterilized then inserted into a can or plastic container.