A recent CDC study reveals the dangers and costs of hydrofluoric acid.
According to The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that some chemicals used in car wash products are highly dangerous to the workers using them.
Many products for car cleaning contain hydrofluoric acid. The CDC examined the compensation injury reports of workers using these chemicals from 2001 to 2013 and found that 48 workers from Washington state suffered because of burns from hydrofluoric-acid-based car wash products. Seven workers needed hospitalization, two required surgery and skin grafts and three workers suffered thirds-degree burns.
Carolyn Whitaker, one of the researchers involved in the study, explained the dangers of the chemical, saying that:
“Hydrofluoric acid is insidiously toxic at the low concentrations used in vehicle washing. Initially, when it touches the skin there may be little or no pain. That means workers are often unaware of the burn until later and typically delay getting treatment.”
Whitaker then related the case of one worker who splashed his leg with the chemical while transferring a cleaning solution between containers. He then continued to walk for about ninety minutes with the solution soaking into his pants and clothes.
He initially did not feel any burning sensation, but upon examination at the hospital, he found out that he had third degree burns. Emergency medical technicians had to use a skin graft for his injuries. Because of the chronic numbness in his foot the man eventually received partial disability payments.