Hydrogen fluoride, (HF), better known as hydrofluoric acid, is one of the basic raw materials for a wide variety of both commercial and industrial products.
It is produced by reacting a naturally occurring mineral, fluorspar, with sulphuric acid. HF is a strongly corrosive acid which must be handled with extreme caution. Safety is therefore the primary concern of both producers and users.
The major activity of CTEF (Comité Technique Européen du Fluor) has been the preparation of recommendations on the safe handling of hydrofluoric acid during production, storage, transportation and use.
The socio-economic importance of the fluorine industry
In 2012, European hydrofluoric acid production totalled around 240,000 tonnes with a value of around 320 million EUR.
Around three hundred people are directly employed at nine HF production sites in four European countries. It is estimated that the total number of jobs related to the fluorine industry, including downstream products, amounts to more than 50,000.