AQMD Committee Says, “Ban MHF” — Maybe

By Steve Dillow, Conservation Co-Chair

In the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Refinery Committee meeting on Sept. 22, several experts supported the view that “modified” hydrofluoric acid (MHF) is no safer than unaltered HF, and that the mitigation efforts do little or nothing to protect the community. And after hundreds of citizens were allowed their one minute to speak, the committee spoke, and eventually directed its staff to draft a directive (Rule 1410) to phase out MHF. That is, unless the refineries could prove that their mitigation efforts are effective. So far, Exxon has refused to allow the formulation or the test results to be released, and even threatened to sue over it. But we are supposed to just “trust” them. The staff has until next May to complete the document.

“The risk to public health from an accidental release of this chemical is too great to accept,” said Clark E. Parker, Sr., Ph.D., chairman of SCAQMD’s Refinery Committee. “We are directing staff to develop a rule to better protect residents’ health in the event of an accident.” To see the Press Release, follow this link: AQMD Press Release and download the document from the Refinery Committee.

The technical battle seems to be over, but now the more difficult political battle is underway. The Board members must be convinced to accept these findings and remove this threat. Local groups TRAA in Torrance and Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) in Wilmington are working on this effort now. Please add your name to the supporters.


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