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Hydrogen Fluoride (as F)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Anhydrous hydrofluoric acid; HF-A
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1460
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7664-39-3
  • NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: MW7875000
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and Emergency Response Guidebook: 1052 125 (anhydrous); 1790 157 (solution)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Hydrogen Fluoride: chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Hydrogen Fluoride: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-2
(See also Z37.28-1969)

3 ppm
(2 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Skeletal fluorosis*

HE14

Upper respiratory tract and skin irritation

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

3 ppm
(2 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Skeletal fluorosis*

HE14

Upper respiratory tract and skin irritation

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

3 ppm
(2 mg/m3) TWA

HE3

Skeletal fluorosis*

HE14

Upper respiratory tract and skin irritation

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

3 ppm
(2.5 mg/m3) TWA

6 ppm
(5 mg/m3)
Ceiling
(15 minutes)

HE3

Skeletal fluorosis*

HE14

Severe irritation and burning of eyes, skin, and respiratory tract

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2004)

0.5 ppm
TWA

2 ppm
Ceiling

Skin; BEI

HE3

Skeletal fluorosis*

HE11

Irritation and corrosion of lung tissue,  pulmonary edema

HE14

Irritation and burning of eyes, nose, throat, and skin

CAL/OSHA PELs

0.4 ppm (0.33 mg/m3) TWA

1 ppm
(0.83 mg/m3) STEL

Skin

HE11

Lower respiratory tract inflammation

HE14

Upper respiratory tract irritation

* Osteosclerosis or increased bone density due to excessive absorption and retention of fluorides.

  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • EPA carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): 0.02 ppm (acute)
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 30 ppm

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
No other potential health effects or hazards resulting from occupational exposure were found in the scientific literature.

Date Last Revised: 11/16/2012

Literature Basis:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Hydrogen Fluoride. 2005.
  • ANSI (formerly United States of America Standards Institute): USA Standard Acceptable Concentrations of Hydrogen Fluoride and Inorganic Fluoride Dusts. November 9, 1966.
  • California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board: Initial and Final Statement of Reasons. March 17, 2012.
  • Lund K et al Exposure to hydrogen fluoride: an experimental study in humans of concentrations of fluoride in plasma, symptoms, and lung function. Occup Environ Med 1997;54:32-37
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Hydrogen Fluoride. March 1976.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Hydrogen Fluoride. September 1978.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns and filter spacer (SKC 225-9001) Na2CO3 Impregnated Backup Pad in a 3 piece cassette.
  • maximum volume: 90 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.5 L/min (TWA)
  • maximum volume: 22 Liters
  • maximum flow rate: 1.5 L/min (STEL)
  • current analytical method: Ion Specific Electrode; ISE
  • method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-110)
  • method classification: Partially Validated
  • note: OSHA personnel may obtain sampling media from SLTC. Submit as a separate sample (Particulate F- on MCEF, HF on impregnated Backup Pad). The filter and filter spacer reside in one section while the impregnated backup pad is in another section of a 3 piece polystyrene cassette. The filter and backup pad should not have physical contact with one another. When analysis of a compound is requested, an analysis is performed for fluoride (F-) and reported as the compound. Hydrogen fluoride is collected on a Na2CO3 impregnated backup pad.

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