Hydrogen Fluoride (HF), called hydrofluoric acid when liquid, is one on the most dangerous chemicals in industrial or commercial use. At least 26 million people live within the chemical disaster vulnerability zone of U.S. refineries that continue to use HF even though alternatives are available. According to data from the U.S. EPA’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) program, 145 industrial or commercial facilities use or store HF in amounts that require them to report to the agency.
The explosion and fire at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior, WI on April 26, 2018 that caused several injuries and led to the evacuation of area residents and schools is only the latest near miss at a facility using HF.
Resources on HF and Alternatives
Hydrofluoric Acid hazards and alternatives in ChemHAT.org (the chemical hazard and alternatives toolbox) at http://chemhat.org/en/chemical/7664-39-3/hydrofluoric-acid
United Steelworkers report A Risk Too Great: Hydrofluoric Acid in U.S. Refineries (available at https://www.usw.org/workplaces/oil/A-Risk-Too-Great.pdf) documents 131 HF releases or near misses at U.S. refineries over a five-year period.
Fact Sheet on Alternatives to HF (by independent safety consultant Fred Millar)
Notes on History Channel “Toxic Cloud” episode (by independent safety consultant Fred Millar)