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“Modified” hydrofluoric acid (MHF) is a dangerous industrial chemical used in massive quantities in only two California refineries, Torrance and Valero, Wilmington. If released, it forms a ground-hugging cloud that can drift for miles, causing death and injury. The refineries’ other mitigation measures, like water sprays and barriers, are also ineffective. Mass casualties can result from an MHF release — wind direction determines who dies.

Results of 2015 explosion that nearly released 50,000 lbs of MHF, which could have killed or injured tens of thousands, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board


For decades, the South Bay has battled the refineries’ all-too-successful campaign to keep using MHF rather than converting to a much safer process, such as is used at Chevron in El Segundo and the other California refineries. Following the massive Torrance refinery explosion in February 2015, which nearly released 50,000 lb of MHF, investigations by TRAA and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board uncovered the true threat MHF poses. Now, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is considering Rule 1410 to require MHF/HF replacement with a safer alternative at both refineries. But industry is fighting back with well-financed campaigns.


TRAA has initiated a campaign to urge the State of California to investigate the use of HF in a densely populated area. You can lend your voice to that campaign by posting your thoughts on the state portal. We’ve made it easy! Simply go to our campaign page and use the text that we provide, or type in your own thoughts.


Click image to watch a terrifying video of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery explosion on Friday, June 21, 2019. Note object being hurled from the explosion to the right. With the PES refinery closing, now Torrance CA has the infamous distinction of having the densest population around an HF refinery.  The video is from 6abc/WPVI−TV Action News in Philadelphia.

  • Hermosa Beach City Council Candidate Positions on MHF May 5, 2021
    Recently TRAA sent a brief questionnaire to the candidates in the Hermosa Beach City Council election being held on May 11. The three questions asked of each candidate were: Are you in favor of a ban on HF/MHF? What have you done to effect a ban in the past? What do you plan to do in the future? It’s ...
  • Texas Refinery Issues a Shelter-in-Place Advisory after Chemical Leak May 5, 2021
    The Marathon Petroleum Corp Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas advised residents to stay inside after a leak of a dangerous chemical. Some reports identified the dangerous chemical as hydrofluoric acid, although Marathon did not confirm that. So far, there are no reports of fatalities, although two workers were treated for exposure to the chemical. In ...
  • California State Senate Race Endorsement for District 30 February 25, 2021
    The California State Senate seat for District 30 was vacated by Democrat Holly Mitchell, who resigned to take a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The southern area of this district is within the danger zone of risk from a possible large HF release at the Torrance refinery. Seven candidates are running in ...
  • Redondo Beach Elected Official Scorecard February 23, 2021
    Redondo Beach residents should have their municipal ballots in hand.  The TRAA queried the Redondo Beach candidates for office and scored them with respect to their commitment to eliminate hydrofluoric acid from the local refinery. Here is the response from candidates as of February 18, 2021: Name Candidate for: Favors a ban on HF/MHF Has taken action in the past Pledges ...
  • Call into the AQMD Meeting Friday, February 5 @ 9 AM February 3, 2021
    Get your 3 minutes of talking points ready….    This Friday –  6 years since the 2/18/2015 explosion at the Torrance Refinery and 1 1/2 years since the cave-in by the AQMD Board allowing two refineries to continue to use of deadly HF/MHF – the AQMD will have another board meeting. This is the first since the ...
  • TRAA Kicks-off Campaign Urging Gov. Newsom to Initiate Investigation of HF Usage February 18, 2020
    Last February 15, 2020, the TRAA hosted a press conference and Call to Action at the Doubletree Hotel in Torrance.  In addition to commemorating the 5th anniversary of the explosion at the Torrance Refinery, the group announced an initiative to urge California Governor Newsom to request that Atty Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office open an investigation ...
  • Press Conference on 5th Anniversary of Torrance Refinery Explosion February 15, 2020
    TRAA activists hosted a press conference on Saturday, February 15, 2020 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Torrance Refinery explosion. It was a terrific day for TRAA and the campaign to Ban HF. Some of the notables about the morning: Approximately 100 people filled the room Many signed up for areas to help or donated to the ...
  • TRAA 5th Anniversary of Torrance Refinery Explosion Press Conference/Event February 10, 2020
    Join us for a commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Torrance Refinery explosion.
  • 15 State AG’s Sues Trump Admin EPA for Gutting Chemical Safeguards February 1, 2020
    The coalition is challenging the Trump EPA’s rollback of Obama-era amendments to its “Risk Management Program” (RMP) regulations, referred to as the Chemical Disaster Rule. This rule made critical improvements to the RMP to better safeguard against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at facilities that store and use toxic chemicals.
  • Congressman Alan Lowenthal Expresses Support to Proposed Rule 1410 January 29, 2020
    Last November, Congressman Alan Lowenthal joined fellow local congressmembers Ted Lieu, Maxine Waters, and Nanette Barragán in expressing support to the Southern California AQMD Proposed Rule 1410 to replace HF and MHF at the refineries within the SCAQMD jurisdiction. Congressman Lowenthal represents the 47th congressional district, which includes Long Beach, but extends eastward to include parts ...