Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Hydrofluoric Acid accident

Hello my father was involved in a job accident that involved
Hydrofluoric Acid. He inhaled,and ingested it. The consentration was
49% and at the time is fighting for his life. It has burned layers of
his lungs and entered the heart. He has only one kidney and that is
now being checked to see if it has been effected. At the moment he is
unable to walk due to the reaction of the acid. Is there anyone that
I could call or contact that might have as to how to
treat this acid?

If there is please E-Mail me…
Thank You for your Time,
Maria Martinez

All I can offer Maria is my best wishes. I was taught how to use
hydrofluoric acid at the John Cass College in London. We used it to
remove enamel from gold and silver. I won’t use it in my workshop.
It’s far too dangerous.

Sorry to hear about your father. The April 2000 issue of SNAG News
(Society of North American Goldsmiths) has an article about
hydrofluoric acid. VERY nasty stuff. It is titled Hydrofluoric
Acid:Not for Amateurs. I think it is a reprint from Chemical Health
and Safety, by Eileen B. Segal, American Chemical Society,
January/February, pp18-23. The article also mentions an Allied
Signal’s booklet “Recommended Medical Treatment for Hydrofluoric Acid
Exposure.” It can be obtained from Allied Signal Inc.,P.O. Box 1053,
101 Columbia Road, Morristown, NJ 07962-1053. Or fax 973-455-6141.
Sounds like it is just what you are looking for. Hope it helps and
your father recovers.

Don Friedlich
SNAG President

** Hanuman’s Note **

Dear Don; Would you mind posting the article on Orchid, I am sure
many of us are interested in reading it.


G’day; Hydrofluoric acid IS dangerous to a casual user. On the other
hand my wife was engaged in the analysis of clay samples for very
many years. HF is used in the determination of silica and alumina in
clays and is quite essential for this work. However, the lab where
she worked fell far short of modern ideas of safety - there was no fan
driven fume hood, for instance. She will be 81 at Christmas and seems
to be none the worse for her experiences with HF. In fact her health
is better than mine! Cheers, –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

Hi! Yes, John. But I’ll bet she was fully awared of the dangers of
HF, and took great care to never come in contact with it.

The big problems with HF is mostly with users who just really don’t
realize (have never been warned) just how terribly dangerous it is.
And do not treat it with the necessary caution and respect. And,
nowadays, places that use it and do not properly train their
personnel not only in its use but in exactly what to do in case of an
accident, and how to use the safety equipment that should be (I
suppose in some countries it is not) MANDATORY in the workplace, are
certainly being criminally remiss.


Maria, I’m very sorry that your father has had this terrible
accident. A search online found several addresses giving information
on hydrofluoric acid (and other chemicals). I’m afraid it’s not happy
reading. (I think that this site had Material Safety Data Sheets)

Thankyou for the reminder not to be complaisant around chemicals and
equipment in the studio.

My best wishes for your father’s recovery. Cathy Icardo