Known Hazards of Refrigerators

Updated February 21, 2017

Believe it or not, something you use every single day can cause you and your family harm. A refrigerator is not something that you look at as harmful or as a potential hazard, but that is exactly what it is, although brand new refrigerators are much less of a hazard than older ones. A refrigerator can be hazardous in different ways, but remaining aware of those hazards will prevent accidents.


One of the most commonly known hazards to a refrigerator is the doors. Sometimes people put an old refrigerator out on the curb for the garbageman to pick up. Children see the refrigerators and think of them as a good place to play. The hazard occurs when a child gets inside and closes the door. The doors seal, and the child cannot get out and eventually suffocates from lack of air. If you ever have a refrigerator that you need to dispose of, remove the doors and lay them separately next to the body of the refrigerator to prevent the accidental death of a child.


Refrigerators need a mixture of chemical refrigerants, called freon, to keep them running cold. Older refrigerators contain chlorofluorocarbons or CFC's, which deplete the ozone layer. If you throw away your refrigerator into a landfill, the chemicals could leak into the soil and eventually into the water supply, causing harm and illness to many people. If you do have a refrigerator to throw away, remove the area at the back of the fridge that contains these chemicals. Better yet, do not put the refrigerator into a landfill at all. Many scrap metal places will take your refrigerator and give you some money in return, which works out best for everyone.

The freon in your refrigerator can leak into your home and cause heart problems. If you expect that your refrigerator is leaking freon, call a professional immediately. Ensure that he understands the situation, and ask him to come quickly.


While you can control the temperature of your refrigerator in your home, you do not have control over refrigerators holding the food you eat in restaurants. By law, restaurants need to keep the temperature of their commercial refrigerators below 4.44 degrees Cor optimum safety of foods. Once the temperature gets higher than that, food begins to spoil and may go directly to the table where you are eating. Obviously you cannot ask the waitress to get you a temperature of the restaurant's refrigerator, but you can go online and find the inspection reports for that restaurant. Read through the report, and it will tell you if the refrigerators were not at an ideal temperature for storing food.

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