Health risk assessment related to hydrogen peroxide presence in the workplace atmosphere – analytical methods evaluation for an innovative monitoring protocol
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University of Florence, Florence, Italy (Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine)
Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy (Occupational Medicine Unit – Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Laboratory)
Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy (General Laboratory)
University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy (Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences)
University of Catania, Catania, Italy (Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine)
University of Turin, Turin, Italy (Department of Public Health Sciences and Pediatrics)
Online publication date: 2020-01-30
Corresponding author
Stefano Dugheri   

Careggi University Hospital, Occupational Medicine Unit – Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Laboratory, Largo Brambilla 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(2):137-50
Objectives: Hydrogen peroxide (HP) accounts for 15% of the total global chemical revenue. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the HP concentration immediately dangerous to human life or health is 75 ppm. Operators exposed to HP should pay attention when choosing the monitoring technique that should be specific and sensitive enough to discriminate the exposure levels from background concentrations. In order to assess the long- and short-term exposure to HP in disinfection processes, the authors compared 6 industrial hygiene monitoring methods to evaluate their efficiency in measuring airborne HP concentrations. Material and Methods: Airborne HP concentrations were evaluated using an on-fiber triphenylphosphine solid-phase microextraction method, and they were compared with those obtained using a 13-mm Swinnex titanium oxysulfate filter holder and 4 portable direct-reading electrochemical sensors. A survey carried out in wood pulp bleaching, food and beverage disinfection processing, and in a hospital department to reduce the risk of spreading nosocomial infections, was performed during routine operations to access the risk of HP occupational exposure. Results: Through the generation of HP gaseous dynamic atmospheres (0.1–85 ppm), the authors evaluated the consistency of the results obtained using the 6 methods described. The monitoring campaigns showed that the increase in HP could be relatively high (until 67 ppm) in food and beverage processing. Conclusions: In the authors’ opinion, the current 8-h time-weighted average limits of 1 ppm for HP do not reflect the actual risk; a short-term exposure limit would, therefore, provide a much better protection. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2020;33(2):137–50
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