Peracetic Acid

Peracetic acid, or PAA, is a highly oxidative organic acid created by reacting acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. This acid is commonly used in the produce industry, healthcare applications, and water treatment. PAA eliminates cross-contamination in the process of washing produce due to its ability to kill and deactivate bacteria. This acid is primarily used in food applications due to its ability to leave no harmful residues. Peracetic acid is particularly appealing in the healthcare industry since it serves as a biodegradable disinfectant. During water treatment processes, PAA is used as a wastewater disinfectant.

Despite the useful applications of peracetic acid, it can be highly corrosive if not properly diluted. Higher concentrations of PAA cause this acid to become more corrosive. Inhaling large amounts of PAA can cause eye redness and irritation, skin pain, blisters, and shortness of breath. Ensuring proper safety when working with peracetic acid is imperative towards ensuring minimal exposure to this acid. According to OSHA standards the permissible exposure limit of PAA is 0.4 ppm.

Currently, the OSHA method of measuring peracetic acid exposure relies on a device known as an impinger. An impinger is used in conjunction with an air sample pump in order to collect airborne contaminants. This is done through bubbling the collected air through an adsorbing liquid. As reported by OSHA, the procedure for collecting peracetic acid particles entails a cassette with a coated quartz fiber filter and titanium oxysulfate along with an impinger that contains methyl p-tolyl sulfide (MTS) and 4-chlorophenyl methyl sulfone in acetonitrile (ACN) to collect the particles. The resulting foam like mixture is then taken into a lab for gas chromatography evaluation.

This method requires many different materials that need to be assembled by the user causing a lack of convenience. In addition, the impinger and air sample pump must be placed near a user’s breathing area which could impede a worker’s productivity throughout the duration of a workday. A new glass container must be used every time a worker would like to monitor for chemical exposure which is not ideal. Impingers also pose the possibility for re-aerosolization if the particles that have been collected are hydrophobic in nature. Hydrophobic particles have the ability to latch onto the bubbles generated by the impinger allowing the particles to escape and not be captured for further evaluation.

Nematic Technologies has created a chemical monitoring badge which allows users to track and monitor their exposure to airborne contaminants, including peracetic acid. Instead of having to self-assemble an impinger, this badge allows particles to be captured and exposure limits to be indicated immediately via an app. This badge is a wearable device that is specially designed to be worn in the workplace to enable worker safety. Users are alerted via a mobile app on the extent of their chemical exposure. The chemical monitoring badge provides high selectivity, high sensitivity, and a fast response time optimizing user convenience.

If you are interested in the chemical monitoring badge contact a member of our team today!