Gaseous forms of the toxic chemical are the most likely danger to fire fighters, first responders, police, and homeland security professionals. All Chameleon kits are designed for an easy on/easy off fit on the wearer's forearm and can be worn over most turn-out gear or level-A suits, according to the company.
Hydrogen fluoride and its variants are ranked as one of the most dangerous families of chemicals used in manufacturing facilities. Hydrogen fluoride is commonly used to make refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline, aluminum, plastics, electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs.
Over half of all production of hydrogen fluoride is used in the manufacturing of refrigerants. Hydrogen fluoride exists as a colorless gas or a fuming liquid, or it can be dissolved in water. When it is dissolved in water, it becomes hydrofluoric acid. Exposure to hydrofluoric acid can occur during an industrial accident or as a result of a natural disaster affecting manufacturing facilities and damaging storage containers of the chemical.
Hydrogen fluoride has a strong, irritating odor that is discernible at concentrations of 0.04 ppm (parts per million). In the form of hydrofluoric acid, hydrogen fluoride is colorless and is indistinguishable visually in water. The gas can cause severe eye, mucous membrane, and skin irritations. In large concentrations, hydrogen fluoride aggressively penetrates tissues and results in cell destruction such as skin burns, corneal clouding and destruction, multi-organ failure, respiratory paralysis, cardiac failure, and even death.
The new hydrogen fluoride sensor developed by Morphix Technologies will be part of the Chameleon Hazmat Detection Kit to be used alone or in addition to hazardous chemical protective suits and masks to identify dangerous levels of hydrogen fluoride and other toxic chemicals in industrial accidents.
The hydrogen fluoride sensor will change color when the toxic gas is present and requires no power source or calibration.
Unlike current colorimetric detection systems, the Chameleon is designed to military standards for use in a wide variety of operating environments. It can be used in desert heat, arctic cold, or tropical conditions and can even be immersed in water.