NIOSH to Reevaluate Proposed IDLH Value for Peracetic Acid

Published March 22, 2017

​Through a request for information (RFI) published earlier this month, NIOSH is seeking data and information to help the agency characterize and assess the health risk of occupational exposures to peracetic acid. Peracetic acid is a highly reactive, unstable, and volatile peroxide-based molecule for which there is currently no NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) or OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL). Established exposure limit values for peracetic acid include an ACGIH threshold limit value–short-term exposure limit (TLV-STEL) of 0.4 ppm (1.24 mg/m3) and acute exposure guideline level (AEGL) values published by the National Advisory Committee for AEGLs for Hazardous Substances.

In 2015, NIOSH published a draft immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) value for peracetic acid of 0.64 ppm (1.7 mg/m3). The agency received public comments stating that the proposed value is overprotective and that the data available for peracetic acid are of low quality. Commenters further highlighted issues related to the sampling and analysis of air samples for peracetic acid in the workplace. The comments spurred NIOSH to reevaluate the proposed IDLH value and to further evaluate the scientific and technical data on occupational exposures to peracetic acid.

The agency requests information on and comments related to workplace exposure data for peracetic acid, possible health effects observed in workers exposed to peracetic acid, and workplaces and products in which peracetic acid may be found. NIOSH also seeks descriptions of work tasks and scenarios with potential for exposure to peracetic acid, and reports and findings from in vitro and in vivo toxicity studies with peracetic acid. Commenters are encouraged to provide information on sampling and analytical methods for peracetic acid and on control measures being used to protect workers from exposure to peracetic acid, including engineering controls, work practices, and PPE.

The comment period ends on June 5, 2017. More information is available in the Federal Register.

Related: A feature article published in the December 2016 issue of The Synergist discusses the many uses and hazards of peracetic acid. Read “Versatile and Vexing” in the digital Synergist.