Articles


This article and film are important for understanding the threat of Hydrofluoric Acid.

From:  ABC News 
Deadly Chemical and Dismal Safety Records Put Millions Living Near Refineries at Risk

By BRIAN ROSS MATTHEW MOSK VIC WALTER ANGELA M. HILL JIM MORRIS ABC NEWS CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY       Feb. 24, 2011

























       Oil industry documents filed with the federal government reveal that an accidental release of a lethal chemical used in 50 aging refineries across the country could prove devastating, with 16 million Americans living within range of toxic plumes that could spread for miles.

       Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and the stretch of Texas coastline known as "Refinery Row" are among the at-risk areas cited in the documents. Citing homeland security concerns, the government keeps the industry filings under close guard in Washington, D.C. They were reviewed as part of a joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity that airs tonight on World News with Diane Sawyer and Nightline.

CLICK HERE  to read the Center for Public Integrity's story on oil refineries. 

      There are safer alternatives for the chemical hydrofluoric acid, which is used to make high-grade gasoline, but the industry has resisted calls to stop using it. An industry spokesman told ABC News it would not be feasible to retrofit the refineries to use the safer approach. Federal officials tell ABC News, however, that the real impediment may be money-- estimating it would cost about $50 million for the companies to upgrade each plant.   MORE


NOTE: The number of links we include are limited.  Watch the video, read the accompanying article.  Then, go to Medical for a more complete recitation on Hydrofluoric Acid, the medical impact, and why 'being prepared' means moving.



Use of toxic acid puts millions at risk
By Jim Morris emailChris Hamby 10:59 am, February 24, 2011 Updated: 12:19 pm, May 19, 2014
(Excerpt)
  
"The first hard evidence of the perils of an HF release from a refinery emerged in the summer of 1986. Amoco, which used the acid at its Texas City refinery (later acquired by BP), wanted to learn what would happen if large quantities got out. State regulators had expressed concerns, and Amoco approached Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California to conduct some tests.

The experiments took place at the Nevada Test Site, the epicenter of nuclear bomb testing during the Cold War. The assumption at the time was that any HF released from a vessel would stay in liquid form and could be captured on site before it did serious harm.

The Nevada tests showed otherwise.

Safely ensconced in a building about a mile away, Livermore physicist Ronald Koopman and his colleagues opened computer-controlled valves on a tanker truck loaded with 5,000 gallons of HF. The team released one-fifth of the HF at a temperature and pressure comparable to what would be found in a refinery.
What happened next stunned them. Video of that first test shows a white cloud moving quickly along the desert floor.

“None of the HF was collected as a liquid,” said Koopman, an independent safety consultant who works both for environmental groups and industry. “It all went downwind. That was a surprise.”

The conclusion: “Everything that’s released in an accident under conditions similar to those in a refinery goes downwind as an aerosol and a vapor.” Amoco’s safety director, on the scene, was “just beside himself with concern,” Koopman said. “He couldn’t believe it.”

Sensors detected potentially lethal concentrations of HF nearly two miles downwind of the tanker truck. Levels of the chemical were measured well above 30 parts per million, which the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health considers “immediately dangerous to life or health.”

The tests revealed another unpleasant surprise: It took a lot of water — much more than industry experts had imagined — to keep dangerous levels of HF from traveling beyond the plant fence. They had assumed that 20 parts of water applied in a spray to one part of HF would do the job, but this wasn’t the case. A second round of tests in Nevada in 1988 showed that twice as much water was needed to remove 95 percent of the acid from the air, assuming the system worked exactly as planned, Koopman said.

Amoco insisted that the video of the Nevada experiments include a disclaimer stating that an HF release as massive and fast-moving as the one seen in the first test was unlikely.

Koopman, however, maintained that such a release — while admittedly a worst case — is “not an impossible case. It’s not an unrealistic case. It could happen. If people were in that cloud … they would die, I think unquestionably. Unless they could hold their breath until it passed.”"  MORE
  

And a last article:
Report: Toxic cloud could sicken millions in Chicago
April 18, 2013 10:55 AM CDT  BY JOHN WOJCIK AND MARK GRUENBERG

 

ABC News