What Are the Dangers of R134?

Save

Exposure to small amounts of R134a often produce no effect, but this fickle chemical can also cause harm or death in certain circumstances. The Environmental Protection Agency considers R134a fairly benign, reports that toxicity is very low for acute and subchronic inhalation, and does not consider R134a a developmental toxin, or genotoxic. Automotive professionals as well as do-it-yourself vehicle owners who risk accidental exposure to R134a in the course of vehicle repairs should make themselves aware of the dangers despite the green light from the EPA, since certain situations can make R134a dangerous to health.

Inhalation of Vapor

  • Problems from inhalation of R134a depend on the dose; small amounts will not harm the lungs. Acute inhalation of larger amounts becomes more worrisome, causing symptoms including temporary nervous system depression, with accompanying drowsiness, lethargy and insensitivity to pain. Prolonged breathing of vapors can cause cardiac irregularities, unconsciousness and death.

Concentration Levels

  • The vapor dilutes the concentration of oxygen in the air to levels low enough to cause harm. R143a vapor is heavier than air and could accumulate in low lying areas like vehicle maintenance pits. Enclosed areas such as repair bays could also accumulate vapors. According to the EPA, Long-term exposure at very high concentrations, defined as 50,000 ppm, has been shown to cause benign tumors in rats. Manufacturers recommend maximum exposure levels are well below the study levels, at 1,000 ppm.

Skin Contact

  • Contact with R134a in liquid form can cause freeze burns on the skin, or eye damage if splashed in the eye. Skin or eye contact with vapor has no known effect. Wear safety goggles, gloves and shoes when there is the possibility of exposure to liquid R134a. If liquid contacts the skin, place the frostbitten part in warm water, and exercise the affected area while warming it. If eye exposure occurs, flush with large quantities of tepid water or sterile saline solution and seek medical attention.

Routes of Exposure

  • Several typical activities performed at auto repair facilities can cause exposure to R134a. Recharging or recovery of refrigerant in the course of servicing air conditioning systems in vehicles can cause R134a to escape. Major repairs can cause accidental damage to the air conditioning system exposing workers to R134a. Accidental perforation of refrigerant containers can occur during use or when moving containers to and from storage. Another route of exposure occurs during the recovery of a wrecked vehicle with front end damage that causes the condenser to leak.

References

  • Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • What Is R134A Refrigerant?

    R-134A belongs to a group of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and is also known as HFC-134A. Hydrofluorocarbons are used mainly as residential...

  • How to Change R12 to R134

    Over time, vehicle air conditioning systems tend to loose their Freon charge and stop blowing cold air. Recharging your air conditioning system...

  • How to Convert an R12 to the R134a System

    Before 1995 most vehicles came with R12 refrigerant in the air-conditioning system. If your air conditioning is no longer cooling as well...

  • Which Gas Is Used in Fridges?

    Refrigerant gases are chemical coolants that condense at high pressure but have low evaporation points. Historically, several different gases have been used...

  • The Symptoms of Freon Exposure

    Freon is the trademark name of chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbon solvents manufactured by the company Dupont. You'll find Freon in commercial products...

  • What Are the Dangers of Inhaling Freon?

    Freon is the trade name for a group of man-made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). CFCs contain chlorine, fluorine and carbon and are...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How To Travel For Free With Reward Points

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!