A 70% HF facial vapor exposure occurred in a French industrial facility that manufactures glass and crystal. Since 1972, this facility has used about 240 tons of HF per year. Personnel who work on the HF line are trained about ht ahzards and risk of HF and HF splash decontamination... After 1993, Hexafluorine (Laboratoire Prevor, Valmondois, France) was used instead of water as the initial decontamination solution and calcium gluconate was only used when necessary to treat actual HF burns.
A 35-year-old technicians was exposed to 70% HF vapor on the right cheek (approximately 1-2% total body surface area) when opening a valve in the hydrofluoric acid circuit. He immediately felt severe pain in the exposed area. Safety goggles were worn, so no eye exposure occurred. The worker immediately decontaminated himself with a Hexafluorine 5-liter high volume / low pressure portable shower, after which he rapidly became pain-free.
On medical examination in the facility infirmary, there were no clinical findings other than mild, painless erythema of the exposed area. Topical treatment with 3% calcium gluconate was initiated the day following the exposure as some residual painless erythema was still present. During the following week and at 1 month post-exposure, the worker was re-examined in the facility infirmary and no sequelae were noted. There was no lost work time.Hey -- that sounds like success! What is Hexafluorine, anyway? Well, nobody's talking:
The name "Hexafluorine" is a registered trademark of the manufacturer (Laboratoire Prevor, Valmondois, France) who consider the general chemical name and formula to be confidential proprietary information. It is a sterile, aqueous solution containing amphoteric and chelating salts. Hexafluorine is only supplied in one concentration and is a clear and colorless liquid with a specific gravity of 1.046 g/m3 and a pH of 7.2-7.7. Specifically, Hexafluorine does not contain 6 fluorine atoms; rather, it has specific binding sites for both the H+ and F- ions of HF.Some kind of amine solution, maybe? I doubt the existence of Hexafluorine will put HF solutions into the tool kit of the typical manufacturing-scale chemist -- that said, it's interesting and worth knowing about its existence.
1. Siéwé, C.-L.; Barbe, J.-M.; Mathieu, L.; Blomet, J.; Hall, A.H. "Hexafluorine decontamination of 70% hydrofluoric acid (HF) vapor facial exposure: Case Report." Journal of Chemical Health and Safety. 2012, 19, 7- 11. doi: 10.1016/j.jchas.2011.05.011