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zirconium fluoride is the inorganic compound with the formula ZrF4. It is a white, insoluble powder and a major component of certain types of fluoride-based glasses. It is also used as a zirconium source in oxygen-sensitive applications such as metal production. It is also a constituent of some molten salt reactors.
zirconium fluoride may cause dermatitis, laryngeal and pulmonary changes (including granulomatous interstitial pneumonia), and lung damage in humans and animals. It has weak genotoxic activity in vitro and one inadequately documented animal study suggests it might be carcinogenic. However, other available data do not support these conclusions.
It is not considered to be a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). A single report indicated that feeding zirconium salts resulted in granulomatous changes in the skin and lungs of mice. However, the authors reported that these were caused by hypersensitivity reactions of delayed type and could not be attributed to exposure to zirconium alone. Other elements such as niobium and antimony were found to be associated with similar granulomatous alterations but no quantitative data were given.
A convenient, rapid colorimetric method is described for the determination of fluoride in water using a zirconium-alizarin indicator acidified with sulfuric acid. The technique allows the suppression of interferences by sulfate and the measurement of fluoride to concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm with a precision within 1 %. The procedure is applicable to all types of samples, including hard and soft water.