Sherry, this is highly disconcerting...I find myself rather angry
that this product is being sold without labeling that more
emphatically states the dangers of working with it, and I was also
led to believe that it was relatively safe to work with, which makes
me feel kind of stupid (maybe bamboozled is the word) and therefore
even more angry.
I used to work as a lab temp and have handled nasty stuff ranging
from concentrated hydrochloric acid to capsicum oleoresin to
listeria cultures, and I take a little pride in being a "safety
geek." My safety glasses hardly ever leave my face when I'm in the
shop. So when I worked with the Dip n' Etch, I took what I thought
were the appropriate precautions - but your post has made me feel
like I might as well have been in my skivvies.
Is it not illegal to sell a product without labeling that informs
the consumer about its potential dangers? Maybe I missed
something, but I don't remember such labeling on the Dip 'n Etch
bottle. I tried without much success to locate an MSDS online
(there were a few pages masquerading as MSDSs, but they lacked
important . I tried the link you posted, but it led to
a 404 message. I did find this link that others may find helpful:
Apparently, both HF and ABF have been used for many years in the
carwash industry to remove dirt from wheels and wheel wells, with
issues similar to the ones we're discussing.
I wonder if the concentration of the Dip n' Etch is high enough to
be dangerous - acetic acid is very dangerous in its near-pure form,
but if you dilute it, you can put it on your salad and eat it.
Likewise, sodium hydroxide can be an extremely nasty chemical, but
it is used in, among other things, body lotion. However, one site
gives the percentage of ammonium bifluoride in the Dip n' Etch
solution as 20%, which sounds pretty darn high.
(On a side note, since the beginning of the discussion about HF,
I've been reminded of a wrenching episode of "Chicago Hope" or "ER"
- this was quite a few years ago - in which a worker at a glass
factory or something similar spilled HF on his arm and then
proceeded to die in agony over the course of the show. Anybody else
recall that one? Scared the bejeezus out of me...)
Anyway, please let us know when your article in Lapidary Journal
will be published. I think many of us will be very keen to read