Peracetic acid is a chemical that’s become more popular than ever, and it is being used across several industries. Safer than sodium hypochlorite and less expensive than other chemicals, peracetic acid (or PAA) is a flexible solution that has a wide range of applications. Companies use PAA for anything from clean-in-place and disinfecting to mold prevention, and experts expect the use of peracetic acid to continue growing. Check out our latest blog and podcast on PAA here.
Let’s take a closer look at what peracetic acid is, how it’s used, and how to properly store it to keep your employees safe.
What Is Peracetic Acid?
Peracetic acid, chemically known as C2H4O3, is created when hydrogen peroxide is mixed with acetic acid in a watery solution. The mixture is a bright but colorless liquid with a fairly low pH value of 2.8. It can be identified by its piercing smell that’s similar to acetic acid.
Common Uses of Peracetic Acid
Peracetic acid works as a disinfectant by oxidizing a microorganism’s outer cell membrane. It rapidly transfers electrons to the microorganism, causing it to deactivate.
PAA has a number of uses, but it is primarily used in the food industry as a disinfectant and cleaner. The acid has been used since the 1950’s as a method for removing fungi and bacteria from fruits and vegetables and is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an antimicrobial for use on indoor hard surfaces. In food production, peracetic acid can be found in agricultural plants, food establishments, wineries, breweries, and dairy and cheese processing plants.
Peracetic acid can be used in other applications, too. Some companies use it for water purification and disinfecting the water in cooling towers. PAA is also found in a number of healthcare facilities and hospitals, where it’s used to disinfect various medical supplies and equipment.
Storing Peracetic Acid
When storing peracetic acid, it’s important to use a proper storage method to avoid leakage or other storage failures. PAA can irritate the skin and eyes, and long-term exposure can damage the lungs. Those who work near improperly stored peracetic acid may also develop occupational asthma.
Because it’s categorized as a hazardous material, you must take the proper precautions for storing peracetic acid. It should always be stored in an area that is well-ventilated to prevent inhalation problems.
We recommend storing this powerful oxidizer in a high-density cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) tank with an OR-1000™ system. The OR-1000 gives you a strong structural tank as well as an engineered antioxidant resin system as the chemical barrier. This best-of-both-worlds solution ensures longevity and peace of mind. The tank is built for peracetic acid from the ground up.
Peracetic acid is an NSF/ANSI-61 approved chemical that can be stored in a Poly Processing tank at 30% or less concentration. The tank system is a XLPE tank with OR-1000 system, B.O.S.S. or 316 SS fittings, EPDM gaskets, and 316 SS bolts.