February 23, 2023

Comment Period Opens for Proposed ERPGs for Hydrogen Peroxide

The Emergency Response Planning Committee of the AIHA Guideline Foundation seeks public comments on newly proposed Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs), which are air concentration guidelines for single exposures to agents. The committee is proposing ERPGs for hydrogen peroxide.

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards describes hydrogen peroxide as a “colorless liquid with a slightly sharp odor.” Symptoms of exposure to hydrogen peroxide can include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; corneal ulcer; and erythema, or skin redness. The NIOSH recommended exposure limit and the OSHA permissible exposure limit for the chemical compound are both 1 ppm (1.4 mg/m3) as a time-weighted average—eight hours for the OSHA PEL and up to 10 hours for the NIOSH REL. NIOSH’s current immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) air concentration value for hydrogen peroxide is 75 ppm.

According to NIOSH, workers in many industries may be exposed to hydrogen peroxide. For example, workers in poultry plants that use hydrogen peroxide in chemical disinfectants, stylists in beauty salons who use colorant products, healthcare workers, and workers in factories that manufacture foam rubber are among those who may be exposed to hydrogen peroxide through inhalation or contact with the skin.

The AIHA Guideline Foundation’s proposed ERPGs for hydrogen peroxide are available in a PDF download from the foundation’s website under the subheading “Call for Public Comments.” In addition to comments, the committee encourages individuals to share additional references or resources for consideration. Feedback will be accepted until close of business on April 10, 2023.

ERPGs are intended for use as tools to assess the adequacy of accident prevention and emergency response plans, including transportation emergency planning, community emergency response plans, and incident prevention and mitigation. For more information, please email AIHA’s Michele Twilley, DrPH, CIH.