Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. Its chemical formula is HF. It is a weak acid, but very corrosive and extremely toxic. It can dissolve glass to make hexafluorosilicic acid. If it gets on the skin, it can kill you. It is made by reacting fluorite with sulfuric acid. It is used in the processing of petroleum. It is also used to make various other chemicals containing fluorine, such as teflon (the coating in a frying pan), freon (the cooling agent in an air conditioner), and fluorocarbons (used as propellants in aerosol cans). It is used to clean metals. It is very toxic because it bonds with calcium ions in the body and makes them so they cannot be used. As an acid, it can be deprotonated to produce fluorides, which are also the salts of hydrofluoric acid.
If someone gets hydrofluoric acid on them, medical attention is needed, as just small amounts are very toxic.
- International Chemical Safety Card 0283
- National Pollutant Inventory - Fluoride and compounds fact sheet
- NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
- Hydrofluoric Acid Burn, The New England Journal of Medicine Acid burn case study