DuPont's Freon (TM) Poisoning
Can DuPont's Freon (TM) poison you if inhaled? I only ask this because
the coolers at my place of employment have had a DuPont's Freon (TM) leak for five
days and I'm starting to get sick.
NEWTON is really for K-12 students and their teachers, but
given the urgency of your request I felt compelled to respond.
I have consulted the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for
Dupont's DuPont's Freon (TM) 502 refrigerant. There's no telling if this is
exactly what you have been exposed to. Here's what the online
database at http://siri.uvm.edu/ says. Note that it is
impossible for me to say whether you need to be concerned
or not, because I have no idea how much DuPont's Freon (TM) you were
exposed to. Check the section entitled "Health Hazard Data."
I suggest that you take this information to your physician
and to your supervisor.
Prof. Robert Topper
DUPONT -- DuPont's Freon (TM) 502 REFRIGERANT
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET
Manufacturer's CAGE: 25827
Part No. Indicator: A
Part Number/Trade Name: DuPont's Freon (TM) 502 REFRIGERANT
Item Name: CHLOROPENTAFLUOROETHANE/CHLORODIFLUOROMETHANE
Company's Name: DU PONT
Company's Street: 1007 MARKET STREET
Company's City: WILMINGTON
Company's State: DE
Company's Country: US
Company's Zip Code: 19898
Company's Emerg Ph #: 800-424-9300/800-441-3637
Company's Info Ph #: 800-441-9450
Record No. For Safety Entry: 004
Tot Safety Entries This Stk#: 007
Date MSDS Prepared: 19MAR91
Safety Data Review Date: 10MAR95
Supply Item Manager: GSA
MSDS Preparer's Name: W J BROCK
Preparer's Company: DU PONT CHEMICALS
Preparer's St Or P. O. Box: PO BOX 80709/CHESTNUT RUN
Preparer's City: WILMINGTON
Preparer's State: DE
Preparer's Zip Code: 19880-0709
MSDS Serial Number: BNRMT
Hazard Characteristic Code: G3
Unit Of Issue: LB
Unit Of Issue Container Qty: 30 LB CY
Type Of Container: METAL
Net Unit Weight: 30 LBS
Ingredient: ETHANE, CHLOROPENTAFLUORO
("DuPont's Freon (TM)" 115) (SARA 313)
Ingredient Sequence Number: 01
NIOSH (RTECS) Number: KH7877500
CAS Number: 76-15-3
OSHA PEL: 1000 PPM
ACGIH TLV: 1000 PPM
Other Recommended Limit: NONE SPECIFIED
Ingredient: METHANE, CHLORODIFLUORO
("DuPont's Freon (TM)" 22)
Ingredient Sequence Number: 02
NIOSH (RTECS) Number: PA6390000
CAS Number: 75-45-6
OSHA PEL: 1000 PPM
ACGIH TLV: 1000 PPM
Other Recommended Limit: NONE SPECIFIED
Appearance And Odor: CLEAR, COLORLESS LIQUIDFIED GAS
WITH SLIGHT ETHEREAL ODOR.
Boiling Point: -50F,-45C
Vapor Pressure (MM Hg/70 F): 169 PSIA
Vapor Density (Air=1): 3.92 @ 25C
Specific Gravity: 1.22
Evaporation Rate And Ref: > 1 (CCL4 = 1.0)
Solubility In Water: 0.15 WT% AT 25 C
Percent Volatiles By Volume: 100%
Fire and Explosion Hazard Data
Flash Point: WILL NOT BURN
Extinguishing Media: AS APPROPRIATE FOR COMBUSTIBLES
Special Fire Fighting Proc: SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING
APPARATUS IS REQUIRED IF CYLINDERS RUPTURE OR RELEASE UNDER
Unusual Fire And Expl Hazrds: CYLINDERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH
TEMPERATURE AND PRESSURE RELIEF DEVICES BUT STILL MAY RUPTURE
UNDER FIRE CONDITIONS. DECOMPOSITION MAY OCCUR.
Cond To Avoid (Stability): OPEN FLAMES AND HIGH TEMPERATURES.
Materials To Avoid: ALKALI OR ALKALINE EARTH METALS -
POWDERED AL, ZN, BE,ETC.
Hazardous Decomp Products: DuPont's Freon (TM) 502 REFRIGERANT
CAN BE DECOMP BY HIGH TEMP (OPEN FLAMES/GLOW METAL
SURFACES, ETC) FORMING HYDROCHLORIC AND
Hazardous Poly Occur: NO
Conditions To Avoid (Poly): N/K HYDROFLUORIC ACIDS,
AND POSSIBLY CARBONYL HALIDES.
Health Hazard Data
LD50-LC50 Mixture: DuPont's Freon (TM) "115" 800,000 PPM/"22"
Route Of Entry - Inhalation: YES
Route Of Entry - Skin: YES
Route Of Entry - Ingestion: NO
Health Haz Acute And Chronic: OVEREXPOS BY INHAL MAY INCLUDE
DISCOMFORT-NAUSEA/HEADACHE/WEAKNESS/TEMP NERV SYS DEPRESS
W/ANESTHETIC EFFECTS LIKE DIZZINESS/CONFUSION/INCOORDINATION/
LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS OR W/GROSS OVEREXPOS (>20%), POSS TEMP
ALTERATION OF THE HEART'S ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY W/IRREG PULSE/
PALPITATIONS/INADEQ CIRCULATION. MISUSE: DEATH.#
Carcinogenicity - NTP: NO
Carcinogenicity - IARC: NO
Carcinogenicity - OSHA: NO
Explanation Carcinogenicity: N/K #INDIVIDUALS W/PREEXISTING
DISEASES OF THE CENTRAL NERV/CARDIO SYS MAY HAVE INCREASED
SUSCEPTIBILITY TO ##
Signs/Symptoms Of Overexp: ##TOXICITY EXCESSIVE EXPOSURES.
CARDIAC SENSITIZATION WAS OBSERVED IN BEAGLE DOGS EXPOSED
TO CONCENTRATIONS OF 15% TO 25% "DuPont's Freon (TM)" 115.
VAPOR REDUCES OXYGEN AVAILABLE FOR BREATHING & IS HEAVIER
THAN AIR. SKIN CONTACT WITH THE LIQUID CAN CAUSE FROSTBITE.
"DuPont's Freon (TM)"
22-TOXICITY IN ANIMALS BY INHAL TO CONC RANGING FROM###
Med Cond Aggravated By Exp: N/K ###5 TO 70% INCLUDE
EFFECTS ON THE CENTRAL NERV SYS/LIVER/LUNGS/KIDNEYS/
SPLEEN/CARDIAC SENSITIZATION/DECREASED BODY WEIGHT GAIN
/PARTIAL ANESTHESIA. INCREASE OF TUMORS
IN MALE RATS AT CONC OF####
Emergency/First Aid Proc: INHAL: IMMED GET FRESH AIR. KEEP CALM.
IF BREATH STOP, GIVE ARTIF RESP/IF DIFFICULT, GIVE OXYGEN.
CALL DR. SKIN: CLEAN SKIN AFTER USE.
EYE: IMMED FLUSH W/WATER. CALL DR. "NOTES TO PHYSICIAN":
BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE DISTURBANCES OF CARDIAC RHYTHM,
CATECHOLAMINE DRUGS, SUCH AS EPINEPHRINE, SHOULD BE USED
WITH SPECIAL CAUTION ONLY IN SITUATIONS OF EMERGENCY
Precautions for Safe Handling and Use
Steps If Matl Released/Spill: REVIEW FIRE & EXPLOSION HAZARDS
& SAFETY PRECAUTIONS BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH CLEAN-UP. USE
APPROPRIATE PERSONALPROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT DURING CLEANING.
VENT AREA-ESPEC LOW PLACES WHERE HEAVY VAPORS MIGHT COLLECT.
RMV OPEN FLAMES. USE SCBA FOR LG SPILLS. Waste Disposal Method:
COMPLY WITH FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL REGULATIONS. REMOVE TO A
PERMITTED WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITY OR RECLAIM BY DISTILLATION.
Precautions-Handling/Storing: CLEAN, DRY AREA. DO NOT HEAT ABOVE
125 DEGREES F.
Other Precautions: N/K ####50,000 PPM. SLIGHT BUT SIGNIFICANT
INCREASE IN DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY (EYE MALFORMATIONS, DECREASED
FETAL WEIGHTS) OBSERVED IN OFFSPRING OF RATS EXPOSED TO HIGH
CONC (50,000 PPM) OF FC-22. HOWEVER NO INDICATION OF
Ventilation: NORM VENT-GEN ADEQ. LOCAL EXHAUST SHOULD BE USED
WHEN LARGE AMOUNTS ARE RELEASED. MECH VENT SHOULD BE USED IN
Protective Gloves: NEOPRENE RUBBER GLOVES.
Eye Protection: CHEMICAL SPLASH GOGGLES.
Other Protective Equipment: SELF-CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS
IF A SPILL OR RELEASE OCCURS.
Suppl. Safety & Health Data: #####EFFECTS ON FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE
PERFORMANCE AT CONCENTRATIONS UP TO 50,000 PPM.
You can find information about the hazards of a chemical compound by asking
for its MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) from the supplier of that
material. In your case, if you call the manufacturer of the unit, they
will tell you what compound is used and what needs to be done.
It is a good laboratory/work practice to have on file MSDS for
non-household substances being used but I do not think that it includes
common compounds such as refrigerants in a close loop.
DuPont's Freon (TM) 12 (one of several compound referred to as DuPont's Freon (TM)) is often used as
the working fluid in refrigerators. Recently, this and other
so-called clourofluorocarbon compounds are being gradually replaces with
others deemed to be less harmful to the ozone layer. So, I would not know
for sure if indeed your refrigerator has DuPont's Freon (TM)-12 in it.
Assuming it has, then you can retrieve the MSDS for it (or others) from the
web. A good link for www.msdsonline.com.
I have used this link
(http://www.neslabinstruments.com/service/msds/r12.html) to retrieve the
Special Hazard Precautions: ACUTE: INHALATION OF VAPORS
MAY CONTRIBUTE TO THE OCCURRENCE OF IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT
EYES: IRRITATION WITH DISCOMFORT, TEARING OR
BLURRING OF VISION.
SKIN: CONTACT MAY CAUSE FROSTBITE.
INHALATION: MAY CAUSE TEMPORARY NERVOUS SYSTEM
DEPRESSION WITH ANESTHETIC EFFECTS SUCH AS DIZZINESS,
HEADACHE, CONFUSION, INCOORDINATION AND LOSS OF
CONSCIOUSNESS; TEMPORARY ALTERATION OF HEART'S ELECTRICAL
ACTIVITY WITH IRREGULAR PULSE, PALPITATIONS OR INADEQUATE
CIRCULATION OR EFFECTS OF EXCLUSION OF OXYGEN.
CHRONIC: NONE LISTED BY MANUFACTURER.
My best suggestion is to contact the manufacturer of the refrigeration unit.
Dr. Ali Khounsary
Advanced Photon Source
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, IL 60439
No. No, no, no.
Freons are very inert compounds under ordinary circumstances. In your
lungs, thay chemically act like nitrogen. That is, they do not carry out
any chemistry or interact with anything in your body, they just take up
The high stability of freons is part of the reason they damage the ozone
layer. They persist long enough in the atmosphere to eventually mix into
the stratosphere. There, the hard ultraviolet radiation that cannot reach
the earth's surface can break the freons onto fragments, which catalyze the
destruction of ozone.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
You must be very careful when working with DuPont's Freon (TM), if under the right
conditions it can create Phosgene gas, which will easily kill your
respiratory system and nervous system. Similar to mustard gas.
The only reason why I know this is, my father was a mechanic and this
happened to some of the guys in the shop.
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Update: June 2012