Occupational Exposure to Arsenic Trifluoride

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arsenic trifluoride is a toxic air pollutant (HAP) listed as one of the “Standards for Major Air Emission Sources”. It can cause serious health effects and has been associated with several deaths.

Occupational exposure to inorganic arsenic is regulated by the Clean Air Act, which requires the EPA to set performance based standards for major sources of inorganic arsenic emissions. The standards set by EPA are enforceable against all facilities that emit arsenic in any form and are designed to significantly reduce routine emissions of this toxic air pollutant.

Chemical characterization: Inorganic arsenic is a strong basic element, meaning that it donates its lone pair of electrons to an atom in the ground state (ionic form). It also has seven electrons in its valance shell and is sp3 hybridized.

The chemical structure of arsenic trifluoride is very complex and includes a number of ions that are bound in the same bond angle, which is a symmetry-breaking atomic arrangement. This chemistry is responsible for the fact that this compound has very low melting points, which is why it is so difficult to work with.


HSDB Record Description:
Acute exposure to arsenic trifluoride can result in symptoms including dehydration, intense thirst, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, a garlic-like odor of the breath and feces, shock and collapse, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular problems. In addition, it can affect mental status and cause seizures.

Personal Protective Equipment:

Employees who are exposed to inorganic arsenic should wear impervious clothing and respiratory protection. A face shield and eye protection are also recommended. In addition, employees should always shower after work and change into street clothes before entering their home or other non-work area.