The Symptoms of Freon Exposure

Written by kristen marquette
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The Symptoms of Freon Exposure
Freon is colourless in both its gas and liquid states. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Freon is the trademark name of chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbon solvents manufactured by the company Dupont. You'll find Freon in commercial products such as refrigerants, fire extinguishers, aerosol propellants, degreasing solvents and local anesthetics. Exposure to Freon in both its liquid and gas forms can cause serious health problems.

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Eye Contact

If Freon comes in contact with your eyes, you may experience irritation or burning of the eyes, redness, tearing and blurry vision. More severe symptoms include: intense pain and loss of vision. Flush your eyes with water for 15 minutes immediately after exposure if the Freon did not freeze your eye tissue. If it did freeze the tissue, seek medical attention immediately.


Acute inhalation of Freon may result in nasal irritation and frostbite. If you inhale a high concentration of Freon, you will suffer from disorientation, coughing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, giddiness and tiredness. These symptom can lead to heart irregularities, unconsciousness and even death. You may also experience a chemical-induced high. After the high wears off, you may feel agitation and fear. If you have inhaled Freon, immediately seek fresh air. Call for emergency medical help if someone stops breathing due to Freon inhalation.


The swallowing of liquid Freon leads to frostbite of the upper airway and gastrointestinal tract, which can cause burning in the oesophagus, severe abdominal pain, vomiting and blood in your stool. If you ingest a large quantity of Freon, the liquid may enter your lungs during consumption or subsequent vomiting. Liquid Freon in the lungs can cause chemical pneumonia, a potentially deadly illness. Other possible symptoms include: dizziness, headache, confusion, coughing, choking, fever, unconsciousness, bluish discolouration of the skin and rapid heart beat. Drink one to two glasses of warm water and seek medical treatment if you ingest Freon.

Skin Contact

When liquid Freon comes in contact with your skin, you will feel a coldness in that area caused by rapidly evaporating Freon. It can also cause drying out of the skin, irritation, burning and frostbite. Severe frostbite can result in necrosis (death) of skin cells or underlying tissues. Some people also develop rashes after Freon exposure. If your skin is not frostbitten, wash it with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. See a doctor if redness, itching or burning persists. If the Freon did cause frostbite, rinse the area with water and seek immediate medical attention.

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