Fluoride Action Network


A series of acute inhalation exposures of female rats was conducted with hydrogen fluoride (HF) to establish a concentration-response curve for nonlethal exposures. Durations of 2 and 10 min were used to simulate possible short-term exposures. Concentrations of HF ranged from 593 to 8621 ppm for 2-min exposures and from 135 to 1764 ppm for 10-min exposures. Additional exposures were performed for 60 min at 20 and 48 ppm HF for comparison to existing Emergency Response Planning Guidelines. Animals were evaluated on the day after exposure for changes in parameters of bronchoalveolar lavage, pulmonary function, hematology, serum chemistry, body weight, organ weights, and histopathology. Most exposures were performed with orally cannulated animals to bypass absorption of HF in the nose and achieve maximum delivery of HF to the lower airways. One of the primary uses of the resulting data was to estimate a concentration to which most people could be exposed for 10 min without severe of irreversible health effects. This level was 130 ppm. It was predicted that irritation would occur at this concentration, but the effects on the respiratory tract would not be “serious” and would be expected to be reversible. The results of this experiment and the subsequent analysis of the data provide an important aid in the planning of responses to an accidental release of HF.