Everyone handling HF should know how dangerous it is. In the last several years our union has had two serious accidents involving HF. One was in a plant making chemicals for the aluminum smelting process; the other in an oil refinery with an HF alkylation unit. Both were sprayed with a couple of hundred cc’s. Both got rapid treatment, including calcium gluconate. One died, the other came close.
In fact, if we calculate the hazard of a chemical in terms of the number of people who could be affected by full release from an existing facility, HF tops the list. Fifty US refineries have HF alkylation units. They vary in size between 5,000 and 870,000 lbs of HF on site. Many are in urban areas. Altogether, more than 26 million people live in a potential impact area (by EPA’s estimate).
Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
See us on the web at www.usw.org
It’s not just the bony materials. Ca2+ is a critical ion for various signaling and metabolic processes, and HF in sufficient quantity can disrupt metabolism extensively.
We recently began planning for the use of gallon quantities of HF in one of our nano fabrication labs. One precaution we took was to contact the emergency room that would be receiving any injury and assure ourselves that they were equipped to quickly handle an HF exposure. (Despite our being part of Johns Hopkins, JH Hospital is not the university's nearest emergency department.)
My experience with emergency rooms is that corrosive handlers should be trained to inform the triage nurse that they have a *chemical burn*, not a thermal burn. Otherwise, if it doesn’t look extensive, the nurse will hand them a tube of burn gel and sit them in the corner for 6 hours until somebody gets some free time. If you tell them it’s a chemical burn, at least they’ll probably provide you with irrigation facilities while you wait.
Dr. Daniel R. Kuespert
Homewood Laboratory Safety Advocate
Krieger School of Arts & Sciences/Whiting School of Engineering
The Johns Hopkins University
103G Shaffer Hall
3400 North Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218
On May 16, 2014, at 12:07 AM, Patrick Cruver <camp4**At_Symbol_Here**PULLMAN.COM> wrote:
Yes, and they should be taken to the local hospital ER very quickly. The patient should be kept for observation in case some of the HF still remains. It can continue to drill down in to find bony materials and cause damage---including death. These are instructions I received from the ER Director of our local hospital when I was doing safety and IH for Washington State University.
We keep a tube of calcium gluconate gel in the lab first aid kit; it’s the recommended immediate treatment (following water wash). Never been used & (according to expiration date) needs to be replaced annually.
Sigma Aldrich MSDS:
FIRST AID MEASURES
Consult a physician. Show this safety data sheet to the doctor in attendance. Hydrofluoric (HF) acid burns require
immediate and specialized first aid and medical treatment. Symptoms may be delayed up to 24 hours depending on the
concentration of HF. After decontamination with water, further damage can occur due to penetration/absorption of the
fluoride ion. Treatment should be directed toward binding the fluoride ion as well as the effects of exposure. Skin
exposures can be treated with a 2.5% calcium gluconate gel repeated until burning ceases. More serious skin exposures
may require subcutaneous calcium gluconate except for digital areas unless the physician is experienced in this
technique, due to the potential for tissue injury from increased pressure. Absorption can readily occur through the
subungual areas and should be considered when undergoing decontamination. Prevention of absorption of the fluoride
ion in cases of ingestion can be obtained by giving milk, chewable calcium carbonate tablets or Milk of Magnesia to
conscious victims. Conditions such as hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia and cardiac arrhythmias should be monitored for,
since they can occur after exposure. Move out of dangerous area.
Sheila Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303
Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687
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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