What are the typical uses of hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide has a wide range of applications. Industrially, the largest use is for pulp & paper bleaching, but it also has important application in chemical synthesis, steel production, and wastewater treatment. Consumer applications of hydrogen peroxide include hair care, tooth bleaching, disinfection, and laundry bleaching.

Hydrogen peroxide is available in a wide range of strengths. Industrial applications typically are served with concentrations between 35% and 70%. Consumer applications are generally supplied with far lower, and therefore less hazardous, concentrations. Typical "drugstore" hydrogen peroxide has a concentration of 3%. Concentrations for other consumer applications may be somewhat higher but will always be substantially lower than industrial grades.

How often is Hydrogen Peroxide used for wastewater treatment?

ACC does not obtain or retain use statistics. The members of the HP Panel believe wastewater treatment is a growing use for hydrogen peroxide.

How much Hydrogen Peroxide is produced in the U.S.?

There are essentially five major producers in the United States that collectively produce over a billion pounds of hydrogen peroxide, annually). ACC does not obtain or retain actual production statistics.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide regulated as a toxic chemical?

Hydrogen peroxide is categorized as a hazardous material that is regulated by the federal government both onsite and during transportation at higher concentrations typically found in commercial applications. In fact, it is also regulated under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chemical facility security regulations.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide stable?

Yes, when properly manufactured and handled, hydrogen peroxide is quite stable - losing only about 1% of its concentration per year due to natural decomposition.

What makes Hydrogen Peroxide unstable?

The principle causes of instability are high temperatures and contamination. Contamination can occur in a variety of ways but most commonly results from inadvertent mixture with strong acids or bases, or the introduction of transition metals as a result of storage in inappropriate or improperly prepared containers.

How do you guard against Hydrogen Peroxide being used for inappropriate purposes?

ACC member companies have invested more than $5 billion to enhance security at their facilities under the ACC’s mandatory Responsible Care® Security Code. In addition, Hydrogen Peroxide Panel members closely monitor hydrogen peroxide during shipment, screen and visit customer facilities, regularly audit and train customers in the safe/secure handling, use and storage of hydrogen peroxide. Additional resources are provided below:

What protections exist to limit Hydrogen Peroxide being acquired for inappropriate purposes? 

Many local authorities have alerted chemical distributors to watch for purchases of hydrogen peroxide and report them. In addition, DHS in the United States and the Bureau of Explosives in Canada regulate the use of higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide under the new chemical security regulations. The European Union updated registration requirements and restrictions for explosive precursors in 2019. See https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2019:186:FULL&from=EN for additional information.

Is Hydrogen Peroxide at high concentrations available for sale over the internet?

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