Article Text

Download PDFPDF

1573 Hydrofluoric acid: update about knowledge on eye/skin and respiratory exposure damages and decontamination
  1. Laurence Mathieu1,
  2. François Burgher1,
  3. Samuel Constant2,
  4. Song Huang2,
  5. Alan H Hall3,
  6. Joël Blomet1,
  7. Jean-Luc Fortin4,
  8. NF Schrage5
  1. 1Prevor Laboratory Moulin de Verville 95760 Valmondois, France
  2. 2Epithelix Sarl 14 Chemin des Aulx – CH-1228 Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3Medical Toxicologist Toxicology Consulting and Medical Translating Services Springtown and Azle, Texas USA and Clinical Assistant Professor, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA
  4. 4Unité de médecine préventive –Ville de Saint-Etienne, 82 boulevard Bergson –42 000 Saint-Etienne; Centre des brûlés, Hôpital St-Luc-St-Joseph, 20 quai Cl. Bernard, 69 365 Lyon Cedex 07; Service des Urgences, Hôpital d’Instruction des Armées de Desgenettes, 69 000 Lyon; CAPTV, Hospices Civils de Lyon, 126 Boulevard Lacassagne, 69 424 Lyon cedex 03
  5. 5Augenklinik Köln Merheim; Acto Aachen, Germany


Introduction Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is very corrosive and toxic for humans by all routes of exposures.

Materials and methods Recent ex vivo studies have been conducted on eye, skin and respiratory track in order to determine the damages induced by HF. For respiratory effects, an experiment was designed to explore HF toxicological doses and effects on MucilAir, a unique 3D Human Airway Epithelia reconstructed in vitro. Review of current available literature on clinical data was also performed.

Results For inhalation exposure, up to 1.5 mM HF, no toxic effect was detected. From 7.5 mM, damage to epithelia were observed but could be repaired 7 days after exposure. 75 mM HF and above caused severe non reversible damage to epithelia. Ex Vivo Eye Irritation Test (EVEIT) combined with OCT allowed to characterise HF ocular burn with a complete diffusion into the cornea within 240 s for a 2.5% concentration. Ex Vivo study on human skin explants showed a diffusion in full skin within 5 min after a 70% HF exposure. Decontamination on both eye/skin ex vivo models with water alone or with calcium gluconate limited the diffusion but did not prevent all damages, whereas decontamination with an hypertonic amphoteric exposure such Hexafluorine solution avoided the diffusion and damages. This result is in agreement with the analysis of the clinical results of the literature.

Conclusion Experimental models can help to understand chemical damages from HF exposures and design management based on new tools and devices in order to provide immediate and efficient decontamination to protect exposed workers.

  • hydrofluoric acid
  • hydrogen fluoride
  • corrosive
  • toxic
  • inhalation
  • eye
  • skin
  • MucilAirTM
  • OCT

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.