How to minimize peracetic acid exposure in poultry plants

©Global Peracetic Acid

Peracetic acid has been used increasingly in the food and medical industries as a disinfectant, and its use in poultry processing has further enhanced food safety. The research is made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Shepard Exposition Services and is part of the Association’s Board Research Initiative program. A brief summary of the completed project is shown below. A complete report, along with information on other Association research, may be obtained by going to USPOULTRY’s website, The project summary is as follows.

Project #BRU010: A Pilot Study of Exposures to Peracetic Acid-Based Disinfectants among Poultry Processing Workers.Jenny Houlroyd, Occupational Safety and Health Programs Office, Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation, Atlanta, Ga.
Jenny Houlroyd and her colleagues at the Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation recently completed a research project intended to increase industry knowledge of exposure to peracetic acid (PAA), or its component chemicals, and begin assessing factors that further minimize exposure. Sampling for PAA required researchers to sample for both acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, due to the chemical properties of PAA and its reactivity with these two chemicals. Methods were developed to simultaneously sample hydrogen peroxide and PAA, with acetic acid being sampled separately. Traditional methods as well as real time sampling was conducted for PAA.
A review of the results versus proposed levels of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was conducted. The ACGIH in 2014 set a threshold limit value (TLV) or short term exposure limit (STEL) for PAA of 0.4 parts per million (ppm), calculated as a 15 minute time weighted average (TWA). In 2015, NIOSH published a draft immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) value for PAA of 0.64 ppm. The research results fall well below these proposed threshold levels. Additional employee monitoring and study in certain areas are recommended to further reduce potential PAA exposures in the poultry plant environment.
The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.