Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
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.

Author information

Scientific Action Group, Prevor Laboratory, Valmondois, France.

Erratum in

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



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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center