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Chang Jae Lee 1 Article
Analysis of the Impact on Community Health after Accidental Leak of Hydrofluoric Acid
Young Gab Kim, Ju Taek Lee, Sang Hyun Park, Chan Hee Lee, Michael Sung Choe, Dong Wook Je, Chang Jae Lee, Taei Ko, Hye Jung Jo
J Korean Soc Clin Toxicol. 2013;11(2):106-113.   Published online December 31, 2013
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to verify the influence of a massive hydrofluoric acid spill on community health through patients who claimed to have been exposed. Methods: We analyzed 2459 patients who visited our emergency department with the claim of exposure to hydrofluoric acid, and retrospective analyses were performed. We analyzed changes in numbers of visitors per day from the day of the accidental hydrofluoric acid spill, symptoms presented by the 1924 patients, and general characteristics. Comparisons of symptoms and hematologic characteristics were made between the initially set evacuation zone(1.3 km radius parameters from the spill) and the outer zone. Results: A total of 2,459 patients who claimed exposure visited our ED from 27 September 2012 to 23 October 2012, and there was a significant increase in the number of visiting patients from day 8 of the hydrofluoric acid spill. The most common complaints were a sore throat, 729(37.9%) and no specific symptom with health concern, 547 (28.4%). Statistically significant findings were pulmonary symptoms (p=0.001), nasal symptoms (p=0.001), diarrhea (p=0.023), and skin symptoms (p=0.007). In hematologic study, a statistically significant difference was observed in white blood cell count (p=0.018), creatine phosphokinase (p<0.001), erythrocyte sediment rate (p=0.013), and phosphorus (p<0.001). Conclusion: A significant increase in the number of patients was observed one week after the accidental spill of hydrofluoric acid. The most frequent symptoms were sore throat, headache, cough, and sputum. Statistically significant increase in creatine phosphokinase level and decrease in phosphorus level were noted in patients within the evacuation zone.

JKSCT : Journal of The Korean Society of Clinical Toxicology