Hydrofluoric Acid Emergency Response



Note: First Aid must be started within seconds of HF conact in any form!

Hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid cause severe, deeply penetrating burns to the skin, eyes and lungs. Although concentrated forms of these chemicals are readily pereceived by an immediate burning sensation, more dilute concentrations are often imperceptible for many hours. This potential delay between exposure recognition and treatment can lead to insidious and difficult-to-treat burns.

If you work with hydrogen fluoride or hydrofluoric acid, make certain you and your co-workers are familiar with these first aid procedures, and know where the calcium gluconate is stored.

MSDS for hydrofluoric acid.

Skin Exposure:

  1. Remove contaminated clothing.
  2. Immediately flush the affected boldy area with cool water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  3. Gently apply 2.5% Calcium Gluconate ointment to the affected area. (This ointment is found in all labs using HF, and in the chemical stockroom, taped to the Acid Cabinet.)
  4. Call or have a co-worker call for medical assistance. (Dial 911 or 2222 from any campus phone.)
  5. Continue to apply the ointment until emergency medical responders arrive.
  6. If calcium gluconate is not immediately available, continue rinsing the affected area with copious amounts of water until emergency medical responders arrive.
  7. Inform responders and all others that the exposure involved Hydrogen Fluoride/Hydrofluoric Acid.

Eye or Inhalalation Exposure:

  1. Flush eyes with cool, clean water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Move inhalation exposure victims to fresh air.
  3. Call or have a co-worker call for medical assistance. (Dial 911 or 2222 from any campus phone.)
  4. Await emergency medical responders, informing them and all others that the exposure involved Hydrogen Fluoride/Hydrofluoric Acid.