Your Concierge Doctor Wants to Inform You About Local Hydrofluoric Acid Dangers

September 16, 2016

Hydrofluoric acid, HF, is a very potent acid that can cause severe burns, lasting internal organs damage and death whether inhaled, absorbed through the skin or swallowed. HF is used in our two local oil refineries. These are the only refineries in California that use HF. The Torrance refinery has 250,000 pounds of modified hydrofluoric acid in the refinery. If there is an accidental release of just 50,000 pounds (one fifth of their stored HF) on a calm day there would be a 7.7 mile radius of death for most with short-term exposure and a 13.7 mile radius of irreversible and serious health effects. This area includes all of the area from Seal Beach to Santa Monica to downtown LA, including all of the South Bay. This is where we all live and work. We have been fortunate that there has not been a major accident. There have been close calls.
Other refineries use sulfuric acid instead of HF. Sulfuric acid remains a liquid on the ground and is not released as a cloud in the air the way HF would be. The refineries could be changed to use sulfuric acid. This would be much safer.
There is a local group that is working to raise the awareness of this danger and to get the EPA or the state of California to ban HF use in California. The group is called the Torrance refinery action alliance. Their website is They meet on the first and third Monday of each month from six to 7:45 PM at the Sizzler restaurant, 2880 Sepulveda  Boulevard, Torrance. The contact is

Monday Sept. 19 at 10 am there is a meeting with the US EPA and the Southern Calif Air Quality Management district at the Ken Miller Center in the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance to demand that the refineries give the EPA the true dangers involving HF. You can read the article in the Daily Breeze .

As your concierge physician I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.