Trifluoroacetic acid is actually more lipid soluble than acetic acid. The octanol-water partition* of TFA is about 3:1 where acetic acid is about 2:3; there may be some sense in using soapy water in washing. Many old-fashioned soaps are slightly alkaline as well. TFA is about as strong, in pK and concentration as a concentrated aqueous acid, but will absorb into the skin far more easily than an acid like 36% hydrochloric. I regard it as more hazardous in this way.
*Howard and Meylan; Handbook of Physical Properties of Organic Chemicals; CRC Lewis; 1997
Does anyone have an idea of why (M)SDS so often recommend “wash gently with soap and plenty of water”? What is the soap supposed to do? My understanding is that soap primarily acts by dissolving grease; dissolving grease releases dirt; water washes away dirt. Is there a significant fat/oil/grease component to a TFA splash? Are we just reading boiler plate washing instructions?
Sheila Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303
Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Kim Gates
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2014 5:55 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Question on trifluoracetic acid & emergencies
One of the labs on campus asked about having an HF emergency kit for trifluoracetic acid use.
I need the collective wisdom of his group - yes? no? references? (the SDS doesn't mention anything about this)
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