Hydrofluoric Acid – First Aid

Hydrofluoric acid – First Aid Case Study

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is very corrosive, highly irritating and poisonous. HF burns can be severe and extremely painful, causing extensive damage to the skin and eyes, and to the mucous membranes if breathed or swallowed. HF is absorbed quickly and can cause widespread damage to the body and death. Any person contaminated with HF must have immediate first aid, followed by medical treatment as soon as possible. All laboratory personnel (not just those working with HF) should know where the first aid equipment is kept and how to carry out the first aid procedures for HF exposure

COSHH ToxicCOSHH Corrosive

Hydrofluoric acid – First Aid Procedures

Skin Exposure
• Move the victim immediately under an emergency shower or other water source and flush the affected area with large amounts of cool running water. Immediately washing off the acid is of primary importance.
• Remove contaminated clothing while flushing with water.
• While the victim is being rinsed with water, summon medical assistance.
• Immediately after flushing with water begin massaging the calcium gluconate gel into the burn site. Apply the gel every 15 minutes and massage until pain/redness resolve or until medical care is available. Wear gloves when applying the gel to prevent the transfer of HF and secondary burns.

Eye Exposure
• Immediately flush eyes for at least 15 minutes with copious cool flowing water.
• If only one eye is affected, be careful not to flush contaminated water into the other eye.
• Take the victim to a physician immediately and apply ice water compresses during transport.

Inhalation
• Ensure the victim’s clothing or skin has not been contaminated by HF, before removing them to fresh air.
• If breathing has stopped, begin artificial respiration.
• Summon emergency medical assistance.

Swallowing
• Rinse the mouth with cold water. Do not induce vomiting.
• If the victim is conscious, have them drink lots of water to dilute the acid followed by a glass of milk or milk of magnesia.
• Summon emergency medical assistance.

Calcium Gluconate

Calcium Gluconate Gel works by combining with Hydrofluoric Acid to neutralize the fluoride ion. The immediate application of this antidote gel to the burn site reduces burn damage to bone and deep tissue. The major action of Calcium Gluconate Gel is to provide excess or substitute calcium stores by combining with HF to generate insoluble calcium fluoride, thus preventing the extraction of calcium from bones and tissues from the resulting burns. Removal of calcium from blood and tissue by fluoride ion attack results in a serious, frequently life-threatening condition known as hypocalcemia.

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