English: The Ozone Layer If CFCs Hadn't Been B...

The Ozone Layer If Refrigerator Freon and other CFCs Hadn’t Been Banned (Dobson Unit of Measure of Ozone density http://www.theozonehole.com/dobsonunit.htm From http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=38685)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Was Refrigerator Freon Banned and Why?

Freon, a Dupont brand name, was introduced to refrigerators in the 1920s, as a safer alternative to the refrigerants being used at the time.

Refrigerator freon is part of a larger group of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

One of several variations, R-12, or Freon-12, was banned as part of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty to reduce ozone depletion by substituting chemicals less likely to affect the ozone layer.

Freon-12 had been used in refrigerators, vehicle air conditioning and aerosol spray propellant.

Why Should We Care?

Starting in the 1970s, scientists found that Freon was depleting the ozone layer, a noticeable percentage around the globe and to dangerously low levels at the poles.

Skin cancer and cataracts were expected to increase as the ozone layer decreased.

Scientists were already seeing sunburned whales.

What Happened?

Freon-12 was banned in 1989 when the Montreal Protocol went into effect.

It has been replaced by several Freon variations (R-410A, R-134A, and R-409A blend).

The Montreal Protocol outlined a phase-out of chemicals found to be depleting the ozone layer.

The treaty was opened for signature September 16, 1987.

When it went into effect, 11 countries had signed it.

It bans or reduces substances that deplete the ozone layer, including:

  • Freon-12 – refrigerant, aerosol spray
  • CFCs – refrigerants that had replaced ammonia, propane, and toxic substances like methyl chloride and sulfur dioxide
  • Halon – industrial fire suppression systems (still allowed in submarines until a replacement can be found), asthma inhalers have been reformulated
  • carbon tetrachloride – fire extinguishers, dry cleaning agent, lava lamps, reveals water marks for stamp collectors, pesticide, production of CFCs, R-11, R-12
  • HCFCs – fire extinguishers, plastic foam manufacture, CFC refrigerant replacement, solvents
  • HFCs – replaced CFCs and HCFCs

It has been ratified by 197 countries, including all U.N. members, and the European Union.

And, that is why I switched from an aerosol hair spray to a pump hair spray thirty years ago.

With the ban on refrigerator freon and other chemicals depleting it, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.

Did you ever stop using aerosol hairspray?

Did you ever wonder why there used to be so much talk about the ozone layer and then people stopped talking about it?

Do your grandchildren know about the ozone layer around the earth?

To you and keeping your grandchildren’s world safe.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers




Enhanced by Zemanta