ChemDAQ PAA Gas Detection System Effective for Monitoring New ACGIH Standards


ChemDAQ Corporation announces that it is responding to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)'s recent announcement of new standards for employee exposure to peracetic acid with its Steri-Trac® vapor monitoring system.  Steri-Trac ensures the safe use of Peracetic Acid by alerting workers to harmful levels of vapor, thereby protect workers from the harmful accumulative effects of exposure during disinfection and sterilization processes.

Risks of continued exposure to PAA can result in severe eye, throat and sinus irritation, pulmonary edema, liver and kidney problems, epigastric pain and circulatory collapse and other health problems, which may not be detected for months or even years.

According to ChemDAQ president and CEO David Hilliker, Having an Occupational Exposure Limit of 0.4 parts per million (ppm) is a critical first step, but to make it useful there must be an accurate way to measure concentrations of PAA vapor. The companys ChemDAQ PAA Monitor has a digital resolution of 0.01 ppm, and a minimum detection limit of 0.04 ppm. The monitor is well suited for use for ensuring workers are not exposed above the new ACGIH Short Term Exposure Limit (STEL) of 0.4 ppm.

Peracetic acid or peroxyacetic acid (PAA) (CH3C(O)OOH is a strong oxidizer commonly used in hospital sterilization departments and food processors in concentrations that may be hazardous to workers if exposed. PAA is highly effective in the sterilization of medical equipment to protect patients. It is also widely used as a microbial intervention in the processing of meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables for food safety. It is also used in aseptic bottling of low acid beverages such as dairy products to eliminate the need for refrigeration. This saves energy costs for shipping and storage, which is also good for the environment.

PAA is in such high demand because it is a very efficient antimicrobial chemical, says ChemDAQ chief technology officer P. Richard Warburton, PhD, JD. It rapidly breaks down in food, on the medical device or in the environment to harmless acetic acid (vinegar), oxygen and water. Because of the lack of residues, PAA can even be applied to organic foods. However, the biocidal properties that make PAA essential to food production and healthcare also make it hazardous to anyone exposed to it over time, Warburton says.

As a relatively new sterilization method, there have been no Occupation Exposure Limits (OELs), Warburton explains. The lack of any OEL guidelines meant that employers, chemical suppliers and equipment manufacturers who wanted to protect workers using this essential chemical were unsure what exposure was safe and what was not.

The ACGIH standards are an important step in creating best practices in the handling of PAA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)'s PELs were initially adopted from the 1968 ACGIH Threshold Limit Values (TLV) and in many countries, including several Canadian provinces, the legal exposure limits directly reference the current ACGIH TLVs.

Steri-Trac is a real time continuous monitoring system with large three-color display and two-user settable alarm levels. The Steri-Trac monitors can be integrated with the DAQ Data Acquisition System for data logging, reporting and central display of all monitoring points, including time weighted averages for recording cumulative exposures like the ACGIH STEL.

Source: ChemDAQ Corporation

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