In our previous study, we reported that even a sublethal dose of hydrofluoric acid (HFA) could cause acute toxic effects 60 min after intravenous injection. This study was designed to investigate the time- and dose-dependent changes associated with these disorders. The serum fluoride (F) kinetics are also considered in the discussion of the relationship between the concentrations of serum F and the disorders.
Rats were injected with HFA (1.6 or 9.6 mg/kg body weight) for the dose-response relationship study. For each dose, the rats were assigned to one of seven groups. Blood samples of the 0-min group were obtained from the carotid artery prior to injection as a control. The other six groups were labeled according to sampling times (5, 10, 30, 60, 120 and 300-min) in the time-dependent study.
The 1.6 mg/kg dose decreased the ionized calcium (Ca2+) level significantly after 30 min, and it also decreased the total calcium (Ca) level after 300 min. The 9.6 mg/kg dose rapidly worsened renal dysfunction after 60 min. It increased the serum potassium level after 60 and 120 min and it decreased Ca and Ca2+ levels until 300 min. Although there was respiratory compensation, the base excess and HCO3(-) level and had not completely recovered by 300 min. Conclusions: Even low exposure to HFA caused renal dysfunction, and electrolyte abnormalities and metabolic acidosis lasted for several hours in rats. Therefore, persons involved in HFA accidental exposure should be closely monitored over time, even if the exposure is less than the sublethal dose.