Home

MHF Danger Zones

Public Safety Warning
Torrance (ToRC) refinery: Representation of the ground-hugging acid cloud from 50,000 lb. of MHF acid very nearly released during the 2015 explosion. The (slight) wind that day was to the west. Calm days are the worst case scenario, as it means a denser acid cloud. Much of the county is at risk.
Valero-Wilmington Danger Zone
Wilmington (Valero) refinery: EPA Worst Case Guidelines allow us to estimate the worst possible impact of the release of 55,000 lb. MHF from a single acid settler tank. Serious and irreversible injuries are possible with short-term exposure up to 17 miles from the refinery. Wind determines the exposure.

The Danger of MHF

(Click here to help now) One of the world’s most dangerous industrial chemicals, HydroFluoric acid (HF) is used in massive quantities in only two California refineries, in Torrance and Wilmington. The refineries claim a chemical they add to the HF makes it safe. But at only one or two additive molecules per hundred, it’s too little to make a difference. “Modified” HydroFluoric acid (MHF) is just as deadly as HF. 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.

What’s Being Done

For decades, the South Bay has battled the refineries’ all-too-successful campaign to keep using HF 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 the Torrance Refinery Action Alliance (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 HF/MHF replacement with a safer alternative at both refineries. But industry is fighting back with well-financed campaigns. The next few months are critical!

Call to action

Please contact the SCAQMD to make our community safe! The Torrance city council has pledged to follow the regulations set by the SCAQMD board. The SCAQMD staff (which advises the board) agrees with us: MHF acid is nowhere near as safe as the oil industry claims. MHF and regular unmodified HF acid are equally dangerous. In densely-populated Los Angeles, it would be much safer for our refineries to use other alkylation chemicals which are already in use at other refineries in our state. Now the board must vote whether to enact Rule 1410, which would ban the chemical from being used at our refineries. They’re being lobbied hard by the oil industry. We need to lobby them even harder!

Make your voice heard

This contact form will send your message to every member of the SCAQMD board at once. They expect to make a decision sometime in March 2018. You can use the sample message in the comment field below; or you can personalize your message as you see fit. And of course, you can call or send a letter to the board with the contact information here. Thank you for fighting to keep Los Angeles safe!

By using this form you will receive twice-monthly eNewsletters about TRAA’s fight to ban MHF. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never share your information with anyone apart from the intended recipients.

During times of heavy use, our mailserver will defer delivery by an hour or so. Rest assured, your message will be delivered.