Low temperature sterilizers and AERs require biocidal chemicals to protect patients and hospitals from the consequences of hospital acquired infections. Sterile processing workers also need to be protected because they might be exposed to high concentrations of these chemicals every day. Occupational exposure limits have been established to ensure worker safety but a continuous monitoring system is needed to know the concentrations of toxic chemicals in the air they breathe.
Hydrogen peroxide has no odor at hazardous levels therefore it is not possible for workers to detect vapors and protect themselves. Peracetic acid has a strong odor, even below the exposure limits. However, because of olfactory fatigue, workers cannot make the distinction between safe and unsafe levels.
Accidental spills, equipment malfunction, operator error or failure of room ventilation systems are some of the events that can increase the airborne concentration of chemical vapors such as hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid.
Are You Safe? How Do You Know?
The only way to know for sure is with a continuous monitor system in place to display real time values in ppm.