Fluoride Action Network


A series of acute inhalation exposures was performed with airborne hydrogen fluoride (HF) to establish the concentration response for nonlethal effects in the rat. Exposures were either 2 or 10 min long; concentrations ranged from 135 to 8621 ppm. Three additional exposures (20 to 48 ppm) were performed for 60 min. A mouth-breathing (MB) model with a tracheal cannula was used in most of the exposures to maximize delivery of the HF to the lower respiratory tract. Endpoints on the day after exposure included hematology, serum chemistry, bronchoalveolar lavage, pulmonary function, organ weights, and histopathology. Nasal resistance was measured in nose-breathing (NB) groups. Effects of exposure were generally limited to the respiratory tract and included alveolitis, bronchial lesions, altered parameters of pulmonary function and bronchoalveolar lavage, and mucosal necrosis, inflammation, and fibrinopurulent exudate in airways. Observed changes were concentration related and appeared more pronounced in major airways near the point of entry (trachea in MB animals and nose in NB animals). One group of MB animals exposed for 10 min to 1454 ppm was evaluated at 3 and 14 wk after exposure; the acute effects had resolved by those times. The effects of 2-min exposures were consistently more severe than those from 10-min exposures to the same product of concentration x time. Exposures of MB animals for 60 min to 20 or 48 ppm HF did not result in observable adverse effects, although quasistatic pressure-volume curves were shifted upward slightly after 48 ppm. These data provide an integrated picture of the concentration-related effects of short nonlethal exposures to HF.