Why Hydrogen Peroxide Should Be Monitored for Worker Safety in Aseptic Packaging

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Hydrogen peroxide gas is a strong oxidizing agent and very effective biocide yet it is environmentally friendly since it rapidly breaks down to oxygen and water leaving no harmful residues. This high reactivity means that if hydrogen peroxide vapor is inhaled there is a significant risk of harm to those people exposed.

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2. Call: 800 - 245 - 3310 Email: info@chemdaq.com Visit: www.chemdaq.com Page 2 of 2 Hazards of Hydrogen Peroxide Hydro gen peroxide is a strong oxidant, and can promote combustion. Contact of skin with liquid hydrogen peroxide > 10% concentration can cause bleaching of the skin and chemical burns and cause permanent damage if it contacts the eye . H 2 O 2 vapor is also irritat ing to the eyes and respiratory system and p rolonged exposure to even a few ppm of the vapor can produced permanent lung damage and exposure to high concentration may cause pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs). Hydrogen peroxide is mutagenic, and the ACGIH c lassifies it as a known animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans. Further information on the hazards of hydrogen peroxide can be found at:  New Jersey Department of Health Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet. 1  NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards 2  H ydrogen Peroxide General Information, Public Health England 3  RTECS Hydrogen Peroxide 20 to 60% 4 Occupational Exposure Limits As a consequence of the hazards of exposure to hydrogen peroxide vapor, the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for hydrog en peroxide, is the same as the PEL for ethylene oxide , 1 ppm calculated as an 8 - hour time weighed average (TWA). 5 The ACGIH has a threshold limit value (TLV) for hydrogen peroxide, also 1 ppm calculated as an 8 hour TWA. According to NIOSH, higher concen trations of hydrogen peroxide become immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH) at 75 ppm. 6 STEL for Hydrogen Peroxide There is no US federal Short term exposure limit (STEL), i.e. a 15 min TWA, for hydrogen peroxide. Two states (Hawaii 7 and Washington 8 ) have a STEL or 3 ppm. Several other countries have a STEL for hydrogen peroxide, e.g. United Kingdom 2 ppm. 9 Hydrogen Peroxide has Little or No Odor Hydrogen peroxide has almost no odor, 10 and the odor threshold is well above 100 ppm, so if there were hydrogen peroxide vapor present at the IDLH level or occupational exposure levels , most people would not even know it. 1 http://nj.gov/health/eoh/rtkweb/documents/fs/1015.pdf 2 http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0335.html 3 https://www.g ov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/317493/PHE_Compendium_of_Chemical_Hazards_Hydrogen_Peroxide_v1.p df 4 http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/virtual_disk_library/index.cgi/5678550/FID2757/nioshdbs/rtecs/mxdb9ac.htm 5 29 CFR 1910.100 0, Table Z - 1. 6 http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/intridl4.html 7 http://labor .hawaii.gov/hiosh/files/2012/12/12 - 60 - General - Safety - Health - Requirements.pdf , retrieved 1/15/2013 8 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=296 - 841 - 20025 9 http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/H2O2_30pct.htm , http://www.bioquell.co.uk/News.asp?Ctrl=2&id=65 10 http://www.chemdaq.com/the - elusive - odor - theshold - for - hydrogen - peroxide/

1. Call: 800 - 245 - 3310 Email: info@chemdaq.com Visit: www.chemdaq.com Page 1 of 2 Why Hydrogen Peroxide Should Be Monitored for Worker Safety in Aseptic Packaging Facilities Introduction Hydrogen peroxide gas is a strong oxidizing agent and very effective biocide yet it is environmentally friendly since it rapidly breaks down to oxygen and water leaving no harmful residues. This high reactivity means that if hydrogen peroxide vapor is inhaled there is a significant risk of harm to those people exposed . Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrations Low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (3%) are used as a household chemical and is generally considered safe under normal conditions, 6% hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach hair. Above 10% is considered hazardous . 30 to 50% is common ly used in industry , including in aseptic packaging . Hydrogen peroxide is reactive enough that 90% hydrogen peroxide is used as rocket fuel (monopropellant). Hydrogen Peroxide Aseptic Filling Machines Are Well Engineered Most m odern hydrogen peroxide filling machines are very well engineered and carefully manufactured However, with any complex equipment problems sometimes can and do occur , whether due to equipment failure, lack of maintenance, wo rk practices or human error. Access points and joints are the most likely to have leakage issues. Why M onitor for Hydrogen P eroxide Vapor ? Hydrogen peroxide has almost no odor and l eaks may be undetectable until too l ate. For example , m ost people have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes, and many cities/municipalities require them, not because they expect a carbon monoxide leak , but because carbon monoxide has no odor and if a leak occurs, it may result in a serio us problem. Similarly, a hydrogen peroxide vapor leak is not expected, but in the case that it does occur , it is important to detect it before it creates a risk to workers’ safety and health. Do Hydrogen Peroxide Aseptic Fillers Leak? As discussed above, most modern hydrogen peroxide aseptic filling machines are well engineered , h owever, there is mounting evidence that hydrogen peroxide aseptic filling machines can and do sometimes leak . C hemDAQ has many customers whose have experienced leaks either in the normal cycle or during CIP procedures. How Can I Ensure That My Workers Are Not Exposed to Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor ? Continuous monitoring for hydrogen peroxide vapor near aseptic filling machines is the best way to ensure the safety and health of workers . With a hydrogen peroxide vapor sensor mounted in strategic positions and a real - time display of H 2 O 2 v apor readings, the worker will be immediately warned of any vapor leak s . In the case of elevated H 2 O 2 vapor levels , the worker should be trained to follow safety procedures established at the facility level and take appropriate actions until the hydrogen peroxide vapor readings indicate that a safe level has been reached. Appropriate actions are =determined by the facility and may include wear respiratory protection, increase the air exchanges or move to another location.

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