Fluorine is defined as a chemical element of the periodic table, it is located in the group of halogens, it is represented by the symbol F and its atomic number is equal to 9. This gas is found at room temperature with a pale green tint, it is created by F2 diatomic molecules. It is the most efficient and the most electronegative of the elements. In its pure form, it is very dangerous and causes severe chemical burns on the skin.
Fluorine forms compounds with all the elements, including the noble gases radon and xenon. Even at low temperatures and in the absence of light, this element reacts explosively with hydrogen. Under normal conditions, F2 or diatomic fluorine occurs as an oxidizing and corrosive gas with a yellow tint reaching to white.
In a jet of fluorine in its gaseous state, metals, glass, water and other substances are burned in an open flame. This element is always found in nature in a combined form, it cannot be stored in glass containers. In aqueous solution, this element is present in the form of fluoride ion. Fluorides are defined as compounds in which the fluoride ion is combined with the positively charged moiety.
The simplified or abbreviated electron configuration for this element is [He] 2s2 2p5, while its full version is 1s2 2s2 2p5. You can learn a bit more about its electron configuration here.
- From hydrogen fluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons are obtained.
- Teflon, also called polytetrafluoroethylene, is obtained through the polymerization of tetrafluoroethylene, which is at the same time generated by chlorodifluoromethane. This is obtained from the fluorination of the corresponding halogenated derivative with hydrogen fluoride.
- Hydrogen fluoride is used to make synthetic cryolite, which is used in the aluminum manufacturing process.
- Fluorine is used to synthesize uranium hexafluoride. It is the heaviest known gas and is used to enrich uranium 235U.
- Some fluorides are added to toothpaste to prevent cavities, one of them is sodium fluoride.
- There are different fluorine salts with various applications. For example: sodium fluoride is used as a fluorinating agent. Ammonium difluoride is used for surface treatment, in the glass and aluminum anodizing industry. On the other hand, boron trifluoride serves as a catalyst.
- Sulfur hexafluoride is known as a dielectric gas and has Electron applications. This gas is used in the greenhouse effect and is included in the Kyoto Protocol.
- Monatomic fluorine is used in the production of semiconductors.
- In some countries, fluoride is added to drinking water for the prevention of caries, this is notified to the population. For example, in Argentina, the United States and Australia drinking water is fluoridated, while in other countries such as Germany it is prohibited.
The toxicity after the use of fluoride is generated by the affinity it has when it binds to zinc. This element is necessary for memory, learning and the formation of antibodies. Fluoride also binds to iodine, which is used in the body’s hormonal system and in the thyroid. This case is similar to mercury which is amalgamated with zinc and iodine.
On the other hand, excess fluoride can lead to bone malformations, brittleness and hardening of the bones, resulting in a greater fracture margin. Fluoride can definitely cause damage to people’s memory, learning, hormonal system, bone health, productivity and energy.
When fluoride binds to iodine, it is used to treat hyperthyroidism, which is abnormal development of the thyroid due to excess iodine. When iodine is removed from the body, fluoride minimizes the thyroid by decreasing its activity and size. This causes serious harm to people who have normal thyroids, especially those who suffer from hypothyroidism or low thyroid.
This is aggravated when the person is exposed to mercury contamination which can be caused by dental fillings containing 55% of this element, mining contamination, fluorescent or halogen lights that flicker or burn, polluted air with high levels of contaminated diesel, fish and mercury that is expelled by combustion. This all happens because mercury binds to iodine and zinc, rendering their functions useless and enhancing the damage caused by fluoride. An easily spotted symptom of fluoride poisoning in children is the presence of white spots on the teeth.