Peracetic acid and its potentially harmful effects, and the benefits of IoT

Peracetic acid, more commonly known as PAA, is a chemical used widely as a sanitiser across a range of industries such as food and beverage, hospitals, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.

Against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic, the use of sanitizers has increased exponentially, both in a domestic setting and within business environments, and its production has grown to keep pace with demand.

However, there are some very real drawbacks to people’s wellbeing if used at a too high level of concentration. In low concentrations, PAA can irritate skin and eyes, as well as cause throat and breathing difficulties. In concentrated form, it can cause serious eye and skin damage.

This is why it is so important to ensure, where sanitizers are produced, that levels of PAA in the air are monitored.

Five reasons why measuring the PAA level is essential

  1. Mitigation – air makeup monitoring is necessary to understand levels of PAA that could be inhaled whilst working. Knowing this information allows employees to work in confidence – if they do suffer from nose, mouth, or throat issues, it may simply be due to a cold or flu.
  2. Enforced shutdown – PAA has a strong, vinegar-like smell, and there is a risk that a USDA inspector could close a facility based on this smell alone. This impacts the operation in terms of downtime and business interruption. Calibrating the levels of PAA in the facility ventilation gives firm evidence on which to base any shutdown decision.
  3. COSHH in EU – the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) requires employers to prevent or control exposure to hazardous substances. Where exposure cannot be prevented, “employers are required to assess the risk to health, and provide adequate control measures when using hazardous chemicals”. This includes products containing PAA.
  4. Litigation – monitoring the levels of PAA in the ventilation system greatly reduces the risk of litigation from any employees who feel they have been exposed to harmful levels.
  5. Evidence and audit – regular monitoring allows businesses to accurately understand PAA levels on an ongoing basis, which enables them to maintain optimum indoor air quality (IAQ). It also gives evidence of potential exposure levels of PAA over a given timeframe.

PAA levels, IoT, and our customer solution

The end client was already a key customer for Polygon US. Polygon helps deliver treated air for its various food production facilities to maintain employee safety and food hygiene.

The client in question was concerned about exposure levels of PAA to its employees and reached out to Polygon for assistance in gathering evidence.

This is where the team at Caption Data Ltd came in, as one of the world’s leading IoT/remote monitoring specialists focusing on indoor air quality, water damage, and OEM IoT solutions. Polygon uses our monitoring systems and telemetry extensively across the globe, to help manage restoration and temporary climate/IAQ control work.

Key features and benefits of our solution:-

  • IP67 enclosure – Highly ruggedised for environments where steam cleaning is performed
    • Lower IP ratings available for less harsh environments
  • Highly accurate PAA measurement with removable sensor cartridge
    • When calibration is due the sensor can simply be exchanged with a calibrated sensor. The ‘out of calibration’ sensor can simply be sent away for re-calibration and re-introduced at a later date
    • High levels of skills are not needed to perform this operation and it can be executed in minutes
    • The serial number of the sensor is sent back to the CDLSmartHub automatically for a complete audit trail
    • This provides evidence for any audits/challenges around sensor accuracy levels
  • Heated sensor
    • This provides highly stable readings even in environments where there is high levels of humidity
  • Seamless connectivity to the CDLSmartHub IoT platform
    • The platform gives a ‘helicopter’ view of all installed systems which enables you to manage employee exposure levels intelligently – you cannot manage what you cannot measure
    • Rolling averages are calculated on the platform.
      • Provision of real-time alerting when exposure levels exceed acceptable levels, allowing you to take necessary action
    • Plot all values from any system
      • This helps you pick out times of the day/week when events are happening
        • This enables you to take corrective action. An example may be the demand for more training for the owner of the disinfection process
      • Instant alerts via SMS/email
        • Highlight issues instantaneously to configured recipients, allowing them to take corrective action
      • Data transferred securely and automatically via cellular networks using the CDL NanoULTRA solution
        • No reliance on LAN/WAN connections
      • Quick and simple installation
        • All that is needed is a power supply, once power is applied the system will be operational within minutes
      • Secure system access via any web browser
        • No complicated software to install and manage

The benefits of measuring rolling averages

There is a demand for understanding exposure levels to employees over an extended period of time in addition to instantaneous alerting.

So a rolling average is calculated in the CDLSmartHub, to enable you to manage the exposure levels intelligently.

The image below shows three metrics: instantaneous, 15-minute rolling average, and 8-hour rolling averages. The limits are as follows:-

  • 0.17ppm all day every day
  • 8 hour- 0.17
  • 15 minute – 0.4

Return on investment

Polygon was able to quickly deploy this solution to the client, giving the client protection and knowledge to help safeguard its employees’ wellbeing.

The USDA could also be satisfied with tangible, evidence-based data concerning PAA exposure levels.

David Simkins, Director of Engineering & Technology at Polygon, said:

“We have worked very closely with CDL and ATI on this project and been able to offer one of our existing customers a solution that mitigates a significant pain point for them. This is a great use of IoT and smart technology and a great addition to our suite of IoT value add services – Exactair.”

Paul Sanders, Managing Director at Caption Data, said:

“Polygon has been an avid and rapid adopter of IoT and as such is yielding significant benefits within the organisation on a number of different levels. This is a great, complimentary use of technology deepening and enriching its customer relationships.

“PAA monitoring is a real pain point for organisations and this solution addresses it directly with minimal risk as it is based on well-established technology from ATI, CDL, and Polygon. A great collaboration.”

Tristen Preger,  Director of OEM Sales and Business Development at ATI, said:

“We have worked with CDL for a number of years and the cloud-based technology offers a powerful, centralised platform for organisations to manage risk and maximise the wellbeing of employees. The cloud platform allows organisations a simple view of their complete estate/buildings.

‘’The system is vital in protecting staff with text and email alarms. The TWA alarm gives staff confidence when performing their daily duties with added protection if a level of gas exceeds that of a dangerous level. The logging platform offered by CDL can be used when gathering information on historical data to offer mitigation if required.’’




If your business calls for a highly accurate, cloud-based PAA or IAQ (indoor air quality) monitoring solution, then please get in touch with the team here at Caption Data Ltd.



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