Peracetic Acid – A Powerful, Yet Environmentally Benign Disinfectant

8 September 2021

The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown that while vaccines, mask-wearing and social distancing are crucial in limiting the number of people with severe respiratory disease and death, keeping commonly accessed surfaces free of the virus is also highly important. This has undoubtedly put chemical disinfectants under the spotlight, beckoning all to question which disinfectants can effectively kill the virus and its rapidly emerging variants.

In response to these queries, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put together a comprehensive list of disinfectants that are capable of inactivating COVID-19 and its variants. Although the list is lengthy and the consumer is inundated with choices, few disinfectants on the list boast having ease of use, environmental friendliness and high biocidal efficiency. One such disinfectant is based on peracetic acid, which usually also contains hydrogen peroxide. Peracetic acid is widely used in the food industry for sanitation and is often deployed in medical care facilities and hospitals to disinfect equipment and surfaces to reduce the occurrence of hospital-acquired infections.

It is generally believed that the strongly oxidizing peracetic acid kills pathogens by disrupting cell wall permeability, denaturing their proteins and impairing the function of their enzymes. Research has also shown that peracetic acid attacks the genome of certain viruses, decreasing their ability to replicate themselves. In conjunction with hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid can even exhibit good sporicidal ability, which is an achievement that few (if any) alcohols, phenolics and quaternary ammonium compounds can match in standard tests (e.g. EN 13704).

In fact, German researchers reported in January 2021 that dry fogging with an aerosolized mixture of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide quickly and efficiently inactivates COVID-19, mycobacteria and bacteria spores in various complex facilities. Canadian researchers reported similar findings in March 2021, concluding that dry fogging common healthcare facilities with peracetic acid effectively and conveniently eliminated COVID-19 from surfaces that were deliberately contaminated with the virus.

Importantly, the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid eventually breaks down into water, oxygen and vinegar. This means that peracetic acid leaves no toxic residue and is considered one of the most environmentally friendly disinfectants commercially available.

Although peracetic acid is offered by several manufacturers, a key differentiator of the product’s quality is its stability. Factors such as temperature, pH and the presence of trace metals can dramatically affect its activity and shelf life. With more than 26 years of experience researching, manufacturing and selling peracetic acid, Cosmic Discovery offers one of the most stable, high quality peracetic acid disinfectants in the market under the name COS PAA. With a constant need for disinfecting the environment around us under these trying times, we think COS PAA will give you a real boost in the fight against COVID-19 and its emerging variants.

The CDSB R&D team

Cosmic Discovery’s COS PAA is a highly stable mixture of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which constitutes a powerful liquid disinfectant that rapidly kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. It is also an excellent sporicide, given its ability to kill both bacterial and fungal spores. Given that peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide eventually break down into water, oxygen and acetic acid (vinegar), COS PAA is a prime choice where environmental friendliness and sustainability are concerned.

Because it does not leave any toxic residue, COS PAA has traditionally been used in the food industry to sanitize surfaces, containers and equipment. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and frequent need for disinfection in communal spaces has put to the fore peracetic acid based disinfectants and their many advantageous properties. COS PAA is now also used to sanitize offices, pantry areas and toilets. It is also suitable for use in hospitals, where there is a constant need to disinfect surfaces and equipment.

Standard surface disinfection procedures, which usually involve the use of sprays and wipes, are time-consuming and laborious. Furthermore, areas which are difficult to reach or access, as well as highly sensitive electronic equipment are either neglected or poorly decontaminated. At Cosmic Discovery, we are very much aware of these difficulties, and have therefore carefully formulated COS PAA AF to allow for efficient and effective peracetic acid fogging. Suitable for use with a wide range of foggers, COS PAA AF is recommended for areas that typically do not encounter heavy soils.

COS PAA and COS PAA AF are available in 25 kg jerry cans.

Technical details on COS PAA and COS PAA AF are available upon request.