First aid and emergency treatment after hydrofluoric acid splash

  • Miran Brvar
  • Marija Jamšek
  • Martin Možina


Introduction: Chemicals are used in all kinds of industry and one fifth of workers have dealt with dangerous chemicals. Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is one of the most dangerous inorganic acids; it is used in the electronics, chemical, glass, steel, car and oil industry. HF has a double action, being both corrosive and toxic due to the synergistic action of H+ and F- ions. On contact with the skin and eyes, HF causes severe chemical burns, which allow diffusion of F- into the tissues, and systemic toxicity with cardiac rhythm disturbances due to hypocalcemia. Conclusions: Chemical burns due to HF splashes can be prevented by wearing personal protective gear and immediate decontamination since HF penetration through the epidermis and cornea begins within the first minute. First aid by washing with water followed by topical application of calcium gluconate has several limitations and is unpredictable, while ocular and cutaneous washing with hexafluorine is very effective and can completely prevent chemical burns and systemic toxicity after HF splash.


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How to Cite
Brvar M, Jamšek M, Možina M. First aid and emergency treatment after hydrofluoric acid splash. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1Sep.2010 [cited 16Sep.2019];79(9). Available from: