Disease/Syndrome

Hydrofluoric acid, toxic effect

Category

Acute Poisoning

Acute/Chronic

Acute-Severe

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Comments

FINDINGS: Skin contact with liquid causes immediate severe pain (>50% solutions), pain delayed 1/2 to 6 hours after exposure (10% to 50% solutions), or pain delayed 6-24 hours after exposure (<10% solutions). HF is a weak acid, but fluoride is the most electronegative ion and is extremely toxic. It can cause extensive damage to skin and bone, and the systemic effects including hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, and hyperkalemia may produce fatal effects. This acid is also an inhalation hazard. The IDLH level set by NIOSH is 30 ppm. Chronic skin or respiratory exposure to HF can lead to osteosclerosis. [LaDou, p. 488; AHLS, p. 107] TREATMENT: Calcium gluconate 2.5% to 10% in a topical gel can be applied after copious skin irrigation. 10% calcium gluconate can also be injected subcutaneously 0.5 ml per cubic cm of skin surface area. For systemic effects, 10% calcium gluconate or calcium chloride can be given IV, and 10% calcium gluconate can be given intra-arterially. [AHLS, p. 435-446]

Latency/Incubation

Seconds to hours

Diagnostic

Clinical

ICD-9 Code

987.8

Reference Link

eMedicine - Hydrofluoric Acid Burns

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