Hexafluorine for Emergent Decontamination of Hydrofluoric Acid Eye/Skin Splashes
J. Nehles - Manesmann Hoesch Praziorohr, Remschied, Germany, H. Hall - Toxicology Consulting and Medical Translating Services J. Blomet - Laboratoire PREVOR, Valmondois, France M. Gross - R. Woeste and Co., Velbert, Germany (SSA Journal Volume 14 Number 2 - Summer 2000 pp. 30 - 33 )

Hexafluorine is a novel eye/skin decontamination compound produced by Laboratoire PREVOR in France. It is an amphoteric, hypertonic chelating agent specifically designed to detoxify hydrofluoric acid (HF). Hexafluorine has chemical bond energy greater than those of eye/skin tissue receptors and does not produce a significant exothermic reaction with release of heat which could further damage exposed tissues. Case Reports: 1) a worker fell into a bath containing 1,505 L of water, 30 L of concentrated hydrochloric acid, and 233 L of 59% HF, immersing eh entire body and face. Hexafluorine was immediately used for decontamination by co-workers and a regular water eyewash was also used. Only minor burns developed and the back and abdomen. There was a significant corneal burn of the left eye, while the right eye remained normal. 2) In a facility producing stainless steel for construction and machine tools which uses a chemical dipping bath containing nitric and hydrofluoric acids, a worker sustained and eye splash with 38% HF, rinsed the eye immediately with hexafluorine, did not develop any eye injury, and returned to work the next day. 3-5) 3 other cases of workers with 20% HF skin splashes who did not develop any burns after decontamination with Hexafluorine have been reported to Laboratoire PREVOR. Discussion: Hexafluorine has been compared with plain water and calcium gluconate decontamination in rabbit and rats, and was more efficacious. Water rinsing at 10L/minute for 5 minutes was not effective, and water rinsing plus calcium gluconate inunction was not as efficacious as hexafluorine, which has an affinity for hydrogen and fluoride ions approximately 100 times as great as that of calcium gluconate in vitro. Conclusion: Hexafluorine is currently the best alternative for decontamination of HF eye/skin splashes.