A multitude of factors and elements may harm workers when handling concentrated substances, so a CDC study implies that car wash companies should switch from dangerous chemicals to safer alternatives in order to provide a healthier environment for their employees.
The study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has discovered that 48 car wash workers have suffered from exposure to hydrofluoric acid between 2001 and 2013, and have requested compensation. The substance is commonly used in giving that extra shine to aluminum and wipe off road grime, which makes it frequently used at car washing stations.
However, reports have revealed that hydrofluoric acid has also been proven to be dangerous and harmful to the employees who handle it, as well as detailers, truck drivers and several others. Out of the 48 cases reported, seven were hospitalized, three were given third degree burns from exposure and two others required surgery.
One of the employees even died due to drinking hydrofluoric acid, though it remains uncertain on whether it was an accidental ingestion or not. It raised red flags in regards to the safety of the chemical substance that has been now deemed as “hazardous” for car wash workers.
There is no need for actual intake, as reports have it that prolonged exposure may lead to severe burns. One employee, for example, accidentally splashed himself with hydrofluoric acid while moving the perilous substance from one container to another. For one hour, he proceeded to walk around with a drenched pant leg and shoe.
However, while seemingly harmless at first, the pain increased, so the employee had to be taken to the hospital for presenting severe burns on his leg and a reported “brown spot” on his ankle. He received compensation due to the required skin graft for his leg and the chronic numbness left in his foot.
The study has been called to attention for all car wash employees, who deal in both cleaning and detailing the vehicles, as they are at high risk of dangerous exposure for burns or even lethal toxicity. If the gloves used have holes in them that might permit the substance to touch the skin, or if there is no protection altogether, their health is at high risk.
The symptoms will reportedly not be felt for hours, as there is no immediate pain or ache upon contact. The effects might be delayed, which will further result in a much later remedy or treatment for a potentially harmful intoxication.
Car wash companies are now asked to find alternative, safer products that do not contain hydrofluoric acid for the safety of their employees.
Image source: ranchodeloro-carwash.com