Is Freon gas toxic?

Antonio Quiñones aq12 at cornell.edu
Mon Apr 14 21:33:29 EST 1997


>I have been living in an apartment since August, 1997, with a frige 
>which I suspect has been losing Freon gas; the landlord had it 
>recharged with Freon without checking the leak.  He claims it is 
>not toxic, but I heard from various sources that it is.  Does anybody 
>know about it, or  can provide evidence?
>Thanks.
>Eunmi Shim

Well, I was going to say that it should be not a problem.  
Presumably the freons are very safe.  However, I just opened Doull 
and Casarett's (4th edition) to page 442 and read that "recently the 
low-pressure fluorocarbons, the Freons, have been reported to be 
sensitizing agents."  This is regarding sensitization of the heart to 
the arrhythmogenic effect of endogenous epinephrine or to 
beta-adrenergic agonist drugs.  Can anyone elaborate on this?

Of course, regarding the specific question posted above, even if the 
freon could cause this effect one would have to ask 1) at what 
exposure level it has been observed (if it has been observed in 
humans) and 2) if enough freon is leaking from the fridge to pose a 
problem.

Antonio





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