5 min read

Peracetic Acid Vapor

Published on
May 18, 2023

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Peracetic Acid has three active compounds; hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ), acetic acid, and peracetic acid (PAA). PAA is formed by the reaction of acetic acid and H2 O2 with the addition of a catalyst; these compounds exist in equilibrium and their eventual decomposition results in oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water. The history of PAA is quite honestly a little boring. It was introduced as an antibacterial agent in 1955 and has been used in specialized applications since then. Many dialysis centers use PAA to clear bioburden from their internal components on a dialysis machine. Itwasnotuntilthelate90’s“fogging” or creating a vapor became more and more noticed in the “clean-room” industry. Somebody, somewhere realized that the vapor coming off of the aqueous form of this stuff is just as efficacious as the aqueous form.

Although hydrogen peroxide and vinegar provide antimicrobial activity on their own.

PAA delivers the most according to the Canadian Journal of Microbiology. PAA is a highly biocidal oxidizer that maintains its efficacy in the presence of organic soil. We know from years and years of fogging, just how amazing PAA is. We also have white paper from other companies who use PAA fog in cleanrooms, medical facilities, etc. It's a terrific, safe, and effective microbicide. Admittedly, sterilizing a “clean room” is much less of a challenge than removing mold from a hoarder's home, the science remains the same, and the treatment is effective. Another huge benefit of PAA Vapor is the lack of residual left behind after we complete a treatment. PAA breaks down into oxygen & water and provides us with some huge advantages over what our competitors may offer. Not the least of which is how safe it is for the families we help. It is non-carcinogenic, it’s not chlorine or bleach, not a phenol, and not in the benzyl group. A quick google search of unhealthy effects of any of these, and you will soon learn that it is either the residual left behind, which can eventually get in our kids or grandkids bodies, the potential for lung or asthmatic issues, or the combination of what was left behind and future products mixed with the residue and the reactions to them.

I am often asked, “So what exactly does it do to the cell or the spore?” The mechanism of action or Mode of Action of PAA is oxidation. Meaning it denatures proteins, disrupts cell wall permeability, and oxidizes sulfhydryl, sulfur, and disulfide bonds in proteins, enzymes, and other metabolites. The PAA vapor interacts with numerous cellular constituents breaking them down and inactivating all working parts. With the disintegration of the fungal cell wall, internal components will no longer be contained and are unable to organize. Simply stated, once the cell wall is compromised, it falls apart. And it cant reorganize. Proteins are rapidly attacked by PAA through the oxidation of amino acids. I once heard it put in this way “PAA fog is like taking a gun to a knife fight.”