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Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2011 Jun;30(2):100-7. doi: 10.3109/15569527.2010.533316. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

Experimental 70% hydrofluoric acid burns: histological observations in an established human skin explants ex vivo model.

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1
Scientific Action Group, Prevor Laboratory, Valmondois, France.

Erratum in

  • Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2012 Jun;31(2):174.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is particularly dangerous due to the potential for systemic effects and induction of severe skin necrosis through two mechanisms: corrosiveness and local tissue toxicity. In addition, because it is only partially dissociated (pK(a) 3.2), it is capable of penetrating deeply into tissues. There is a lack of experimental studies that objectively characterize the behavior of HF diffusion into human skin, specifically the kinetics of tissue penetration resulting in severe cellular lesions.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We describe the cutaneous effects of HF using an established ex vivo human skin model. The diffusion of 70% HF starts within the first minute of contact at the epidermal surface and after 2 min reaches the basal layer. In the subsequent minute, the epidermis is destroyed and lesions appear in the papillary dermis after 4 min. Soon after, damage appears in the upper reticular dermis. Thus, 70% HF needs only 5 min of contact to completely penetrate human skin explants. This experiment is reproducible and corroborates previous studies and clinical effects reported in accidental HF exposures.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

This study shows that the management of HF chemical skin exposure is a question of minutes, especially for initial decontamination. These experimental observations could be useful for objectively comparing skin decontamination methods. Further studies should help to confirm these preliminary results.

PMID:
21077748
PMCID:
PMC3116716
DOI:
10.3109/15569527.2010.533316
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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