sterile processing departmentHydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide monitoring in the SPD has been discussed in two prior Gas Detection Knowledge Base articles. The first article served as an introduction to the subject, some years ago, when hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilizers were new. As you may recall, these sterilizers came into the marketplace with at least the implied notion that they could replace ethylene oxide units, and the attendant dangers associated with that compound.

The second article on hydrogen peroxide monitoring in the SPD cited known instances of leaks occurring.

Ethylene oxide was notorious enough that it earned its own section under OSHA’s air contaminant standards. Of the 556 substances currently listed in OSHA’s Table Z-1, only a small number are given their own sections under CFR 1910.1000. [Scroll down in link]

Notwithstanding this “special status” for ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide most assuredly is still listed in Table Z-1. To wit:


SubstanceCAS No.Regulatory LimitsRecommended Limits
(as of 21 Oct 2021)(as of 21 Oct 2021)(as of 21 Oct 2021)
ppmmg/m38-hour TWAUp to 10-hour TWA8-hour TWA
Hydrogen peroxide7722-84-111.41 ppm1 ppm1 ppm


So, yes, by all logic, right reason, and regulatory requirements, it is necessary to monitor hydrogen peroxide in an SPD, if a hydrogen peroxide based sterilizer is being used.

Peracetic Acid

As to peracetic acid, you won’t find it on OSHA’s Table Z-1. However, back in 2006, the CDC posted a report entitled “Evaluation of Worker Exposures to Peracetic Acid-Based Sterilant during Endoscope Reprocessing.” PubChem in its detailed write-up on peracetic acid refers to it as “[A] very toxic compound.”

The American Industrial Hygiene Association published this article in December, 2016 on peracetic acid. Previously, the ACGIH had proposed a TLV-STEL (Threshold Limit Value-Short-Term Exposure Limit) of 0.4 ppm, which is now an official TLV.

So, make no mistake about it: Peracetic acid is a very useful, and very nasty compound.

Then, there is the matter of OSHA’s General Duty Clause:

(a)   Each employer

(1)  shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

(2)  shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this chapter.

(b)   Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this chapter which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

Contact us regarding all of your hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid monitoring requirements.

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