Topics: Chlorofluorocarbon, Ozone depletion, Montreal Protocol Pages: 4 (1529 words) Published: February 12, 2002

Chlorofluorocarbons are non-toxic, non-flammable chemicals that are mainly used in the manufacturing of aerosols, blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants. They are classified as Halocarbons, a class of compounds that contain carbon and halogen atoms, and are amongst a group of substances called "greenhouse gases". They eat away at our ozone and raise the temperature of our planet significantly, causing detrimental damage to our planet.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) are a man-made substance that did not previously exist to the industrial area. They are a product of a collaboration of three American companies – Frigidaire, General Motors, and Du Pont -- after a series of fatal accidents during the 1920's where toxic gases, (Methyl Chloride), used as refrigerants leaked from refrigerators. Thomas Midgley, Jr. of General Motors first synthesized CFC's in 1928, and later, on December 31, 1928, Frigidaire was issued the first patent for this formula. CFC's went under the trade name of Freon (11 and 12), licensed by Du Pont, and by 1935, they and their competitors had sold over eight million new refrigerators in the United States containing the substance. Because of the CFC safety record for non-toxicity, especially when compared to that of previously used substances for coolants, Freon became the preferred substance in large air-conditioning systems. Public health codes in many American cities were even revised to mandate the use of Freon. Soon thereafter the production and use of CFC's took off, ranging from propellants for bug sprays, paints, hair conditioners, and in air-conditioning in automobiles. (See appendices 1) Peak annual sales of the product worldwide reached over one billion dollars US, and more then one million metric tons were produced.

CFC's at ground level are perfectly safe, being inert at lower atmospheric levels, but they do undergo a significant reaction in the upper atmosphere...
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