Hexafluorine® vs Calcium Gluconate

Effectively treating HF burns

Treating Hydrofluric Acid splashes to skin and eyes can be a matter of life and death and should therefore be prepared for as best as possible.

In the below study, scientists compared HF slashes treated with Hexafluroine® vs those treated with Water followed by Calcium Gluconate.

The experiments clearly highlight the superior efficacy of Hexafluorine® to conventional Water and Calcium Gluconate treatment.

Below is the summary of their findings. The full report can be found here.

 

Introduction

Developed by Prevor, Hexafluorine® is a specific rinsing solution for application to ocular and cutaneous splashes of hydrofluoric acid (HF) and fluorides in an acidic medium.

Objective

This file summarizes the data that show the efficacy of Hexafluorine® in the decontamination of HF splashes, when used as a primary care.

Methodology

In vitro, ex vivo and in vivo comparative experiments compare the efficacy of various protocols: water, water followed by calcium gluconate and Hexafluorine®. The use of these washing protocols for ocular and cutaneous splashes of hydrofluoric acid that have occurred in the industrial environment are also reported in this dossier.

Results

The in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments have highlighted the efficacy of Hexafluorine® in the decontamination of HF splashes in comparison with rinsing with water only and rinsing with water followed by an application of calcium gluconate.

An ex vivo model of human skin explants has been used to study the tissular impact of 70 % hydrofluoric acid and to estimate the efficacy of decontaminating protocols.

A similar ex vivo model using enucleated rabbit eyes in association with the OCT‐HR (Optical Coherence Tomography – High Resolution) technique, has enabled the modeling of HF penetration into the eye and of the Hexafluorine® efficacy versus water or 2.5 % calcium gluconate solution which is the current controversial standard.

32 cases of ocular and cutaneous splashes of hydrofluoric acid washed with Hexafluorine® have been reported in the industrial environment.

  • Five isolated cases
    A worker fell into a tank containing 30 liters of concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl), 233 liters of 59 % hydrofluoric acid in 1505 liters of water. He was completely immersed in this bath. Another operator was hit by an ocular 40 % hydrofluoric acid splash while filling a stainless steel stripping bath. Two workers had cutaneous 5 % hydrofluoric acid splashes. In a glassworks plant, an operator was hit on the cheek by a 70 % hydrofluoric acid vapour splash.

    • Two series of cases
      • 11 cases of hydrofluoric acid ocular and cutaneous splashes have occurred in a German metalworks unit : 6 workers were hit by ocular and cutaneous 40 % hydrofluoric acid splashes and 5 operators were victims of 6 % HF / 15 % nitric acid (HNO3) mixture splashes. A 40 % HF splash targeted more than 16 % of the total body surface area.
      • In a Swedish metalworks company, 16 ocular and cutaneous splashes occurred between 1998 and 1999, two of which were 70 % HF splashes onto the left forearm and in the buccal cavity and the other 14 involving a pH 1 HF/HNO3 mixture.

Those 32 workers were washed with Hexafluorine®as a primary care. There was no occurrence of a severe burn in any case. The worker whose cheek was splashed by 70 % HF vapour only developed a painless erythema. The operator who fell into a HCl/HF bath only had a minor burn on the abdomen, whereas his left eye that was washed with water developed a severe ocular burn. No secondary intensive extended treatment was necessary in any case. Most of those workers did not require lost work time. 3 of them were kept in hospital for 2 to 3 days of observation.

In this series, five potentially lethal cases of HF splashes generated no local lesion or general clinical signs.

Recently, an isolated case, initially washed with water, then later decontaminated with Hexafluorine® and having benefited from a secondary treatment with calcium gluconate, did not develop systemic effects and favorably evolved within 90 days with grafting.

Conclusion

Setting emergency protocols for hydrofluoric splashes and initial rinsing with Hexafluorine® have enabled either preventing the occurrence of burns by HF or to significantly lessen their severity. Washing with Hexafluorine® can be followed by calcium gluconate treatment if it is required by the company’s medical protocol or in cases of delayed use of Hexafluorine®.

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