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Fluoride: the substance
Transportation

Transportation and Overdosing of Hexafluorosilicic (Hydrofluoric) Acid
 
H2SiF6
                                       
The symbols mean that it’s flammable
The 1778 is the acid’s UN No.
The ‘8’ stands for “corrosive”
 
The Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, lists fluorinated compounds in Annex VIII, List A2:
 
   A2020:        Waste inorganic fluorine compounds in the form of liquids or sludges ….
 
The acid is also designated as a controlled waste in Annex I:
 
   Y32:         Inorganic fluorine compounds excluding calcium fluoride
 
All Fluorinated/Fluoride Chemicals can be extremely dangerous when encountered in an emergency situation:
  • Fire and contact with certain chemicals can cause a release of highly toxic and corrosive vapours
  • Fluoride-based acids and bases are extremely toxic and can be absorbed through the skin
  • Acute exposure can result in death
  • Fluoride vapours can cause permanent damage to the lungs and eyes

Hydrofluoric acid is the most corrosive and toxic of the fluoride acids 

  • The two mechanisms that cause tissue damage are corrosive burn from the free hydrogen ions and chemical burn from tissue penetration of the fluoride ions.
  • Fluoride ions penetrate the skin and form insoluble salts with calcium and magnesium
  • Soluble salts are also formed with other cations but dissociate rapidly
  • Consequently, fluoride ions are released, and further tissue destruction occurs.
  • Local effects include tissue destruction and necrosis
  • Burns may affect underlying bone which can lead to amputation.
  • Systemic fluoride ion poisoning from severe burns is associated with hypocalcaemia (low Calcium levels), hyperkalaemia (low Potassium levels), hypomagnesemia (low magnesium levels), and sudden death. 
This is the chemical which water treatment engineers who operate in the dosing plants have to work with every day!
 
Go to the document which is the account of a highly respected lecturer of water engineering studies – Peter Van Caulart. LINK 
 
There have been many transportation incidents during the 60-year-long history of fluoridation. (http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/accidents). A notable incident occurred in Avonmouth Docks on 27th April 2001. A tank holding 22,000 litres of H2SiF6 aboard the Dutch Navigator out of Bilbao was seen to be damaged on arrival at Avonmouth. Within 72 hours, the H2SiF6 had eaten through an 8.0 mm steel shell and the tank had sprung two leaks. The Maritime and Coast Guard Agency had to close the port to ships and dockyard personnel. Because H2SiF6 is volatile at 220C and corrosive, the Emergency Services wore breathing apparatus and protective clothing.
 
Over-dosing
We are told that the fluoride dosing plant in Water Treatment Works is fool-proof and that there are in-built safety features to prevent overdosing. But over-dosing is a common occurrence. There was a serious incident in Queensland in May 2009 when 4000 homes received fluoride at 30 ppm for 3 hours (http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25483547-952,00.html ) 
 
In July 2008, operators at Dimmingsdale Water Treatment Works, Wolverhampton, over-dosed the water supply of 29,000 homes with twice the normal amount (2 ppm) for one month. Severn Trent was severely criticised by the Drinking Water Inspectorate but the criticism did not enter the public domain until July 2009.  (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8175856.stm)  For at least one month, bottle-fed infants had received a double dose of fluoride in their baby formula. It is highly improbable that the PCTs will think to examine the milk teeth and permanent teeth of these infants in ten years’ time so see if they have developed dental fluorosis. If you don’t look, you won’t find – and perhaps Wolverhampton and Shropshire County PCTs won’t want to find even if it occurred to them in the first place!
 
Again, only just come to light  (July 2009) is the fluoridation of communities south of Sheffield who have been receiving artificially fluoridated water between 0.42 ppm and 0.46 ppm for an unspecified length of time because of Severn Trent’s water network distribution problems in the area. (http://www.yorksandhumber.nhs.uk/document.php?o=2261) 

Surely, if Severn Trent couldn’t prevent the fluoride from getting into the drinking water of 56,000 people, why didn’t they suspend fluoridating the already fluoridated areas until they could sort out their water distribution nightmare? No-one asked the people living south of Sheffield if they wanted to receive this toxin and no-one has monitored the effects on their health. The fluoridated communities have not taken part in a consultation exercise and this logistical fluoridation is therefore illegal although, no doubt, there is an obscure clause in a piece of legislation somewhere which allows it to happen.  But what makes Severn Trent think that it can do it without informing its customers ?
 
Could it be that the water company is guilty of arrogance? Is it being careless with its custodianship of the acid?  Is it a case of familiarity breeds contempt?