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PLASMACHEM-L  September 2011

PLASMACHEM-L September 2011

Subject:

FW: HF & other ideas

From:

David Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PLASMACHEM-L: Analytical Chem.(ICP's, DCP's, MIP's).

Date:

Mon, 19 Sep 2011 10:15:33 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

It would be much better to use references mentioned by Johan below to
demonstrate the toxicity of HF. To me it is pointless to say "if you do
everything wrong you will die", when the real message is " if you don't
know what you are doing you can die".

 

If I never see that accident report from the "home lab" in WA again, it
will be too soon. Having a lab at home is illegal for a reason and all
he deserves is a Darwin award.

 

Instead it would be much more appropriate to describe the four deaths
mentioned below. Describing the precautions taken and treatment provided
but ending with the victims still dying. This carries a much more
relevant message for the handling of toxic chemicals. Don't muck around
with the stuff because if you get it wrong there is no band-aid. If
anybody wants to posts details of those cases it would be useful. 

 

But this is a different statement when what I want to say is that you
(or your students) don't need to be scared to death or have nightmares
when required to handle a solution which has "trace HF" listed on the
label.

 

Does anybody have a reference to what is "dilute HF"? I know that there
are metal cleaning solutions available which essentially contain diluted
HF, but I'm not sure if there have been any serious/fatal incidents with
them.   

 

David Jones

From: Johan Schijf [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Friday, 16 September 2011 9:55 PM
To: PLASMACHEM-L: Analytical Chem.(ICP's, DCP's, MIP's).; David Jones
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: HF & other ideas

 

David, 

since you want to talk about volumes and concentrations, consider this: 

- 7 mL of concentrated HF is enough to bind all free Ca in the body of
an average adult. 

- exposure of 1% of your total skin surface to concentrated HF is
typically lethal, this is approximately equal to the palm of one hand.
Due to the rapid transcutaneous uptake, exposure of 5% of your total
skin surface to dilute HF has the potential to be lethal. 

- the risk of fatality is significantly increased if exposure involves
inhalation of vapors. HF vapor in air is severely irritating at 3 ppm
and acutely lethal at 30 ppm (for comparison, carbon monoxide doesn't
become acutely lethal until it reaches about 800 ppm).

HF fatalities appear to occur in the US on average about once or twice a
year and are thus not all that rare. Below is an excerpt from a 2001
paper in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. While many of
these are probably industrial accidents and no doses are reported, it is
especially troublesome that about half of these victims were relatively
quickly treated with gluconate or even IV Ca, to no avail: 

"For the 11 year period, OSHA investigated nine deaths in eight
incidents which involved HF. Four deaths were from skin contact with
concentrated HF, and five deaths involved both skin contact and
inhalation of vapor. Unsafe work practices were factors in all of the
deaths. Calcium chloride or gluconate was noted to have been
administered to five of the nine victims. Calcium was administered 90
min after exposure to two victims, and more than 6 h after exposure to a
third. We were able to establish that the regional poison control center
had been contacted in regard to only one victim. For the period 1984-94,
we were able to identify no additional deaths from CPSC reports, one
additional death from AAPCC annual reports, and four other deaths from
case reports in the medical literature." 

There is no reason for people to fear HF when taking proper precautions,
but they must be taught to respect it and made aware of its hazards,
which should not be downplayed. The most common mistake is to think of
HF merely as a strong acid, when it should be thought of as a strong
poison.

Johan.

--
"[...] more than half the banana genome is shared with humans (a fact
more
evident among some of my acquaintances than others)"  - Sir Robert May

Dr. Johan Schijf
Assistant Professor, Aquatic Environmental Geochemistry
UMCES/Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
P.O. Box 38, 1 Williams Street
Solomons, MD 20688-0038
Tel. (410) 326-7387 (office) 7392 (lab)
Fax (410) 326-7341
e-mail: [log in to unmask] 

lick here
<https://www.mailcontrol.com/sr/wQw0zmjPoHdJTZGyOCrrhg==
AvAOvpfkhUKHvbVWKFTTucNBYg9XR1AWRWi8ewgPpp7kgg==>  to report this email
as spam.

 


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