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CSB calls on EPA to update hydrofluoric acid study

Refinery incidents lead to concern about adequacy of risk management for use of hazardous chemicals

Posted April 25, 2019

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a letter calling on EPA to review its existing hydrofluoric acid (HF) study to determine the effectiveness of existing regulations as well as the viability of using inherently safer alkylation technologies in petroleum refineries.

In the last four years, the CSB has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF, a highly toxic chemical that can seriously injure or cause death at a concentration of 30 parts per million (PPM). In both of its investigations, the CSB conducted a public hearing in which members of the surrounding communities expressed their concerns about the adequacy of the risk management strategies for the use of HF and the effectiveness of community notification procedures in the event of a catastrophic release.

HF is used in about 50 of the U.S.’s approximately 150 refineries as a catalyst in the creation of a blending agent for high octane gasoline.

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