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HHI-Pedia Entry

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

By HHI Staff

Chlorofluorocarbons define a category of chemicals which contain chlorine, fluorine and carbon. CFCs were used extensively for decades as refrigeration agents, aerosol propellants and in food packaging, cleaning solvents and other products. The relative stability of the CFC compounds made for a popular solution for appliances requiring chemical coolants.


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During the 1970s, evidence began to mount that CFCs were causing damage to the ozone layer. Collaborative research confirmed that as CFCs accumulate in the stratosphere, UV radiation stimulates the break down of the compounds. Chlorine molecules released in that process cause significant and permanent damage to the protective ozone layer.

The U.S. government and the European Union banned production of CFCs in 1995, yet production of CFC compounds is still taking place in many territories around the world. 

Most states regulate disposal of refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners produced prior to 1995. Many local utilities offer programs to assist consumers needing to dispose of appliances containing CFCs. For information about recycling facilities near you that handle refrigerators or other appliances which may contain CFCs, visit:


  • EPA
  • National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health


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Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs):  Created on December 25th, 2009.  Last Modified on December 25th, 2009


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