Hydrogen Peroxide

Overview

CAS No. 7722-84-1

Hydrogen Peroxide (H₂O₂) is a colorless liquid with a slightly sharp odor. Hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, skin, and throat. Workers may be harmed from exposure to hydrogen peroxide. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Hydrogen peroxide is used in many industries. In industry, hydrogen peroxide in higher concentrations is used as a bleach for textiles and paper, as a component of rocket fuels, and for producing foam rubber and organic chemicals. It’s also used in medicinal applications and to bleach clothes and hair. Workers may be exposed to hydrogen peroxide through inhalation or contact with the skin. Examples of workers who may be exposed to hydrogen peroxide include the following:

  • Workers in poultry plants that use it in chemical disinfectants
  • Stylists in beauty salons who use colorant products
  • Hospitals and healthcare workers
  • Factory workers in plants that manufacture foam rubber

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries.  If you work in an industry that uses hydrogen peroxide, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheets for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to hydrogen peroxide. Useful search terms for hydrogen peroxide include “high-strength hydrogen peroxide,” “hydrogen dioxide,” “hydrogen peroxide (aqueous),” “hydroperoxide,” and “peroxide.”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

Logo of NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.

Logo of Manual of Analytical Methods.

The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

Logo of Health Hazard Evaluations consisting of three letters: HHE

The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on hydrogen peroxide.

Related NIOSH Resources

Related Resources

 

International Resources

Page last reviewed: November 2, 2018