New ACGIH STEL for Peracetic Acid
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Board of Directors has approved the 2014 occupational exposure limits. Included in these limits is a new short-term exposure limit (STEL) for peracetic acid (PAA, C.A.S 79-21-0). This new STEL is 0.4 ppm over a rolling 15-minute period.
Peracetic acid is a strong oxidant and is often contained in disinfectants that are used in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare industries. In particular, in combination with hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid, peracetic acid is contained in a product called Spor-Klenz. It should be noted, that legacy material safety data sheets for this product do not list the new STEL for peracetic acid. It should be anticipated, in the near future, that the new limit will be included on revised MSDS.
What are the acute health effects of peracetic acid?
Acute exposures to peracetic acid can cause irritation of the eyes, skin irritation (including oxidation), mild irritation to the upper respiratory tract (including sore throat, nasal irritation).
Performing industrial hygiene air monitoring for peracetic acid?
The preferred method to monitor for peracetic acid is to use a combination sampler for both hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. This combination sampler consists of a treated filter and treated tube that is sampled a one (1) liter per minute. Sampling can then be performed for the STEL, or for the OSHA PEL for hydrogen peroxide of 1 ppm as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).
With the publication of the new STEL for peracetic acid, it is important to understand what airborne concentrations are being generated. This is to ensure that either engineering or administrative controls are implemented to reduce exposures below the STEL; or if engineering or administrative controls are not feasible, that proper respiratory protection is selected and used. 3M has done a great job in preparing a technical bulletin on respiratory protection for both hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. Go to technical bulletin 185.
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