Stolen Hydrofluoric Acid, Honestly Toxic
Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 9:31 am
Stolen Hydrofluoric Acid, Honestly Toxic
The discovery that 20 litres of hydrofluoric acid (HF) was stolen from Orica Chemnet in Mt Maunganui has made news headlines nationwide. Warnings have been issued because HF is extremely hazardous - even “small amounts can be fatal“ (1, 2).
It seems obvious that our emergency services should be honest about the toxicity of this chemical – to do otherwise would clearly be irresponsible.
“Why then”, asks Caren McConnell of Fluoride Action Network NZ, “do the public tolerate the dishonesty of our ‘health’ authorities in playing down the toxicity of hydrofluosilicic acid (HFA) - a very close toxic cousin of HF”.
Both HF and HFA contain hydrogen fluoride gas in solution. Dr Jag Cook of Britains Chemical Emergency Group has described hydrogen fluoride as “the only chemical that really scares me”.
Indeed, it is this extreme toxicity of hydrogen fluoride (produced in the manufacture of phosphate fertilisers), that requires the capture of the gas in factory chimneys to prevent environmental pollution (3). NZ is one of only a few countries in the world where the resultant product HFA is then used to deliberately pollute (or ‘fluoridate’) public water supplies (4).
Like the stolen HF, HFA is manufactured by Orica. Their Material Safety Data Sheet states that in the event of a spillage, HFA should not be allowed to enter drains or waterways! (5)
And, like HF, HFA is highly corrosive to skin and mucous membranes, is toxic if inhaled and requires a Hazardous Substance license to transport it. Ingestion of 5-10g of HFA is lethal to adults.
According to MoH rhetoric, small regular doses of HFA (ie when diluted in drinking water) are ‘safe’. Unfortunately, this official claim is not backed up by any clinical evidence.
Normally in toxicology, there is a safety margin of at least 100-fold between the lowest dose at which adverse affects are seen, and the ‘maximum allowable value’ (MAV).
Published research has shown at 1ppm: increased uptake of aluminum into rat brain; increased bone fracture rates in children; dental fluorosis in 30-50% of children, and thyroid disruption. At 1.5 ppm hip fracture rates have been shown to double.
Yet in NZ, the MAV for fluoride in water is 1.5ppm and there are no limits on fluoride from any other dietary or environmental source (with the sole exception of a 2.0ppm limit on ‘bottled water’). Our true daily intake is believed to exceed 3mg/day per person, and 50% of ingested fluoride accumulates in the body (more if one’s kidneys are not working properly).
HFA has not been approved as a food additive by the Food & Drug Administration in the US, or by our Food Safety Authority here. Neither is HFA an approved ‘medicine’ for mass use.
In the early 1990’s the NZ Public Health Commission advised MoH to identify hypersensitive (allergic) persons, but this advice has been ignored. Symptoms include eczema, hives, headache, GI problems and lethargy (6). At least 1% of the population are likely to be affected (7).
In March this year, the US National Research Council (NRC) released its long-awaited, comprehensive report on the safety of fluoride in water – with the result that both the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organisation (8) are now reviewing their policies.
Amongst other scientific evidence that sound the death knell for fluoridation, the NRC report (9) reveals the mechanism by which fluoride causes GI symptoms: in the acidic conditions of the stomach, ingested fluoride combines with hydrogen ions, forming dissolved hydrogen fluoride, aka hydrofluoric acid, HF.
It’s likely that some people will be suffering from indigestion, reflux, stomach ulcers, nausea, stomach cramps and/or misdiagnosed ‘food intolerances’ because of continual gut damage caused by low levels of HF – the same chemical referred to by TVNZ yesterday as a ‘lethal acid’.
“How ironic,” says Ms McConnell “that NZ’s emergency services are on alert for one container of toxic fluoride when tons of a similar product are deliberately added to our water supplies every day with the blessing of our policy-makers, and with no public health monitoring whatsoever.”
Political integrity, honesty and responsibility regarding the draconian practice of fluoridation is long overdue.