What You Ought to Know About Chlorinated Fluorocarbons

Residence is meant to be a secure haven. But when your property accommodates harmful and poisonous supplies, it might be a risk to your well being and the planet’s. The Red List is an inventory of “worst in school” supplies, chemical substances, and parts the inexperienced constructing trade tries to keep away from. A few of these, like asbestos, are well-known, even to individuals outdoors of the development trade. Human-made supplies we check with by their chemical identify, like chlorinated fluorocarbons, could also be much less acquainted to you. However they are often simply as dangerous. Understanding about these supplies and which merchandise include them may help you make greener selections at dwelling that make the entire world a greater place to stay.

Chlorinated Fluorocarbons

There are two primary courses of chlorinated fluorocarbon that seem on the Purple Checklist: chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Each names are a mouthful. So, they’re often referred to extra merely as CFCs and HFCs (or generally HCFCs), respectively. As soon as extensively utilized in quite a lot of merchandise, CFCs have been phased out by the Montreal Protocol after it turned obvious that they have been accountable for the depletion of the ozone layer. HFCs, that are far much less dangerous to ozone, changed them in most merchandise. However HFCs nonetheless have ozone-depleting potential. The U.S. Environmental Safety Company is focusing on HFCs for gradual phaseout by 2030. Neither CFCs nor HFCs happen naturally, and each sorts are potent greenhouse gases contributing to climate change with international warming potentials (GWP) measured in 1000’s (in comparison with CO2 with a GWP of 1).

Ozone depletion is responsible for an elevated incidence of pores and skin most cancers, cataracts, impairment of human immune programs, and harm to wildlife. Starting from elevated pure disasters that create climate refugees to ocean acidification, the consequences of climate change are so quite a few and extreme they beggar perception.

Regardless of the deliberate phaseout, a shocking quantity of home items nonetheless include HFCs. Eliminating HFCs the best way we eradicated CFCs a technology in the past might forestall as much as 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming over the following century, reaching one-third of the objectives of the Paris Local weather Settlement.


Within the dwelling, an important HFC is used as a refrigerant and located in, you guessed it, the refrigerator. Most fridges made earlier than 2021 include the HFC R-134a. Starting in 2021, all U.S. fridges are made with R-600a, which has 200 occasions much less international warming potential. That actually will increase the enchantment of upgrading to a brand new fridge. However for those who do, remember to recycle your previous one correctly. Dumping an previous fridge will ultimately launch all of the refrigerant into the ambiance. The Accountable Equipment Disposal program has created a searchable map to seek out service suppliers who will be sure the HFCs are captured and disposed of safely.

Air Conditioners

Air conditioners additionally use HFC refrigerants. The most commonly used refrigerant in air conditioners is the HFC often called R-410A, a greenhouse fuel that’s over 2,000 occasions stronger than carbon dioxide. Technological options like 3M film and solid-state thermoelectric air con programs might eradicate the necessity for HFC refrigerants. However neither possibility is out there for widespread adoption for dwelling cooling but. Equally, Global Cooling Prize-winning prototypes that use safer refrigerants gained’t be commercially accessible till 2025. Within the meantime, a warmth pump/heat exchanger is a more sensible choice than an air conditioner.

Automotive air conditioners are even worse than dwelling air conditioners. Most vehicles in the present day mechanically embody an AC unit, and most of the people wouldn’t select to forego one anyway. Sadly, it isn’t clear that saving the air conditioner for particularly sizzling days reduces the quantity of HFC that it leaks. (Nevertheless, not working the automobile’s AC can enhance fuel mileage, thus decreasing some local weather influence.)


Though light-weight, foams are usually not gaseous. But the HFCs used as blowing brokers within the manufacture of foams account for 11% of HFC emissions. As along with your automobile’s AC, there isn’t a lot you are able to do to enhance the manufacture of foams. However each time potential, you possibly can select to buy different supplies. Take into account sustainable insulation like cellulose or cotton batting as a substitute of spray foam, keep away from reminiscence foam mattresses, and use recyclable paper streamers or confetti as a substitute of foolish string at your subsequent party.


HFC 152A is the propellant in aerosol merchandise equivalent to hair spray, antiperspirants, disinfectants, and cleansing merchandise. There are some low GWP aerosols, however almost all of them nonetheless have higher GWP than CO2, the first greenhouse fuel. Every time potential, it’s higher to make use of a product with a pump spray than an aerosol. Or you possibly can swap to a unique software technique (equivalent to a stable deodorant as a substitute of a sprig).

This text was initially revealed on March 16, 2022.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *