Peracetic Acid

Peracetic, or peroxyacetic acid, is characterized by a very rapid action against all microorganisms. A special advantage of peracetic acid is its lack of harmful decomposition products

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disinfectant disinfectant

Chemical Disinfection of Hard Surfaces – Household, Industrial and Institutional Settings


Edward Fu, … Diane Boesenberg, in Handbook for Cleaning/Decontamination of Surfaces, 2007

5.4. Peroxygens

The main disinfectants in this category are hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. They are high-level disinfectants, effective against bacteria, enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, fungi, and bacterial spores. They are strong oxidizers and generate hydroxyl radicals, which can react with cell proteins, lipids, and DNA [25,26]. Disinfectant activity is strongest at mildly acidic conditions, and decreases significantly under alkaline conditions.

Hydrogen peroxide solution is readily available at 3% levels for home use as an antiseptic and disinfectant. End use concentrations can vary from under 0.5 to over 30% depending on application. Efficacy is significantly improved by increasing temperature. Hydrogen peroxide, like hypochlorite, is readily degraded by transition metals. It is available in various grades with stabilizers to chelate or sequester metal contaminants. Formulations containing hydrogen peroxide should be acidic, between pH 3 and 5, and have very low levels of metal impurities from water and other ingredients.

Peracetic acid is formed by the reaction of hydrogen peroxide with acetic acid. It has excellent disinfectant activity, requiring use levels of only 0.02% or lower against bacteria. However, it has poor stability, tending toward the reverse reaction back to hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid. Formulations with peracetic acid often also con

Peracetic Acid

The use of a stabilized mixture of peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid is probably the cold sterilant of choice for fluid delivery systems. Unlike formaldehyde, this mixture leaves no toxic residues. It decomposes into oxygen and acetic acid after reacting with organic material. The odor is pungent, similar to the smell of vinegar.

The mixture of peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid acts as a cleaning agent in addition to a cold sterilant. The mixture is a strong oxidant that readily cleans all cellular debris and precipitates or scale in the machines when used routinely. As a cold sterilant, it is effective with an 11-hour contact time. Because it is a strong oxidant, the manufacturer’s recommendations must be followed carefully so that materials in the machines will not be adversely affected.

Test strips are available to check for the presence or absence of the peracetic acid mixture. Indicator test strips ensure the presence of this cold sterilant in the machines. After the peracetic acid mixture is rinsed from the machine, residual test strips test for the absence of the peracetic acid mixture. The residual testing is very sensitive, testing down to <1 ppm.

Because the peracetic acid mixture is a strong oxidant, its handling requires careful attention to avoid chemical burns. Gloves and face protection are mandatory. Accidental contact exposure to this chemical requires water flushes and medical attention similar to those described for formaldehyde.

Regardless of the type of cleaning or disinfecting agent used in the facility, a thorough water rinse must be done before adding chemicals and after cleaning and disinfection. Safety tests must be done after the final rinse to validate the absence of the chemical used. It is dangerous to rely on a timed rinse without the use of a valid safety test. Residual testing prevents patient injury due to chemical exposure.

Peracetic acid will inactivate gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and yeasts in less than 5 minutes at less than 100 ppm. In the presence of organic matter, 200 to 500 ppm is required. For viruses the dosage range is wide (12 to 2250 ppm), with poliovirus inactivated in yeast extract in 15 minutes with 1500 to 2250 ppm. A processing system using peracetic acid at a temperature of 50° C to 56° C can be used for processing heat-sensitive semicritical and critical devices that are compatible with the peracetic acid and processing system and cannot be sterilized by other legally marketed traditional sterilization methods validated for that type of device (e.g., steam, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, vaporized hydrogen peroxide). After processing, the devices should be used immediately or stored in a manner similar to that of a high-level disinfected endoscope.156-158 The sterilant, 35% peracetic acid, is diluted to 0.2% with tap water that has been filtered and exposed to ultraviolet light. Simulated-use trials with the earlier version of this processing system have demonstrated excellent microbicidal activity,74,158-161,162 and three clinical trials have demonstrated both excellent microbial killing and no clinical failures leading to infection.163-165 Three clusters of infection using the earlier version of the peracetic acid automated endoscope reprocessor were linked to inadequately processed bronchoscopes when inappropriate channel connectors were used with the system.166,167 These clusters highlight the importance of training, proper model-specific endoscope connector systems, and quality control procedures to ensure compliance with endoscope manufacturer’s recommendations and professional organization guidelines. An alternative high-level disinfectant available in the United Kingdom contains 0.35% peracetic acid. Although this product is rapidly effective against a broad range of microorganisms,168,169 it tarnishes the metal of endoscopes and is unstable, resulting in only a 24-hour use life.169

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Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Duis mollis, est non commodo luctus, nisi erat porttitor ligula, eget lacinia odio sem nec elit. Donec sed odio dui.

Nullam quis risus eget urna mollis ornare vel eu leo. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nullam id dolor id nibh ultricies vehicula ut id elit.

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