Hydrofluoric Acid Spells Health Risks On Highway
Hydrofluoric acid is highly corrosive, and can be deadly if inhaled. According to news, 5000 have been evacuated from the area surrounding Wind Gap Pennsylvania rather than risk health from the hydrofluoric acid spill from an overturned tanker truck. So far, no injuries are reported.
Hydrofluoric acid is highly corrosive. Because of its ability to dissolve glass and etch through floors, hydrofluoric acid is usually put in Teflon or polyethylene containers. The spill occurred early this morning, leading to the evacuations.
Hydrofluoric acid is a combination of water and hydrogen fluoride. Industrial demand is great for the toxic chemical transported on highways. Hydrofluoric acid is the main constituent of glass.
If hydrofluoric acid contacts the skin or mucous membranes, it can rapidly seep into the tissues, and cause delayed reactions that are not noticeable at first. Hydrofluoric acid can seep through the skin, without obvious injury and erode bones. If hydrofluoric acid enters the bloodstream, it can cause death from calcium depletion leading to cardiac arrest. Inhalation of hydrogen fluoride can cause pulmonary edema and death. Low levels of hydrofluoric acid irritate the nose, mucous membranes and respiratory tract.
Anyone suspected of coming in contact with hydrofluoric acid should seek treatment. Rinsing the skin will not reduce health risks.
Hydrofluoric acid or hydrogen fluoride is used to produce herbicides, pharmaceuticals, as a refrigerant, in high-octane gas, fluorescent light bulbs, and plastics.
Exposure to hydrofluoric acid from environmental spills can have long-term health impacts. Anytime a chemical spill occurs on the highway, every effort is made to limit exposure to humans, but evacuations should not be taken lightly.
According to reports, the hydrofluoric acid spill near Wind Gap, Pa. has been contained. Once the overturned truck is upright, the chemical will be transferred to other containers.
The hydrofluoric acid spill occurred in Monroe County, on route 33, less than a mile south of the county line. Monroe county residents are encouraged to call (570)402-7310 with safety questions. If you think you have been exposed to the hydrofluoric acid, seek medical treatment, even if you do not have any symptoms.
The accidental spill of hydrofluoric acid near Wind Gap Pa. makes us more aware of highway chemical hazards.
Also consider the following in regard to environmental health
For more hydrofluoric acid information, visit the CDC website.