HFC-134a in Cars - Can it make you Crash?

Hugh Easton junkmail at no.spam.com
Mon Oct 20 15:50:40 EST 1997

On Tue, 14 Oct 1997 07:52:54 -0700, Rick <1 at ns.sympatico.ca> wrote:

>Hugh Easton wrote:
>> On 1 Oct 1997 20:56:53 +1000, ian at ilm.mech.unsw.edu.au (Ian
>> Maclaine-cross) wrote:
>> (comments about recent research indicating that HFC-134a and related
>> refridgerants are highly toxic)
>> Aren't chemicals  like this supposed to be tested on animals before
>> being licenced for use in situations where people might be exposed to
>> them? It sounds like Dupont and the EPA have perpetrated a massive
>> fraud, banning the use of cheap, nontoxic, and environmentally
>> friendly hydrocarbons in favour of these noxious poisons.
>> Hugh Easton
>Oh for G-sake! Gasoline is 'highly' toxic.
The point is that HFC-134a was chosen to replace CFCs instead of
hydrocarbons on grounds of safety. Propane and butane work better than
HFC-134a as refridgerants, they are much cheaper, and they can be used
in equipment that was designed for CFCs whereas HFC-134a can't. The
sole reason for rejecting them was the fact that they are flammable,
whereas HFC-134a does not burn under normal conditions. 

Being safe from the risk of fire is scant consolation if you die from
liver failure or sudden cardiac arrest instead, so public safety
certainly hasn't been improved by the adoption of HFC-134a. The
environment hasn't benefitted either - trifluoroacetic acid, the
breakdown product of HFC-134a which is causing the problems of
toxicity, is virtually indestructible. It has been assumed that
rainwater will end up washing it into the ocean where it will be
diluted to harmlessness, however some scientists have already raised
concerns that it could accumulate to toxic levels in certain
terrestrial environments. 

The person who started this thread said that HFC-134a was odourless. I
think he was mistaken. There is a nasty smell about the whole business
of CFC replacements. 

Hugh Easton                                <hugh at daflight.demon.co.uk>

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