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Chloroflourocarbons were discovered in the 1920s by ThomasMidgley an organic chemist at General Motors Corporation He was looking for inertnon-toxic non-flammable compounds with low boiling points that could be used asrefrigerants He found what he was looking for in the form of two compoundsdichlorodifluoromethane CFC-12 and trichloromonoflouromethane CFC-11 In bothcompounds different amounts of chlorine and fluorine are combined with methane which isa combination of carbon and hydrogen These two CFCs were eventually manufactured by EIdu Pont de Nemours and company and under the trade name freon constituted15 of the market for refrigerator gases CFCs were the perfect answer for cooling refrigerators and airconditioners They were easily turned into liquid at room temperature with application ofjust a small amount of pressure and they could easily then be turned back into gas CFCswere completely inert and not poisonous to humans They became ideal solvents forindustrial solutions and hospital sterilants Another use found for them was to blowliquid plastic into various kinds of foams In the 1930s household insecticides were bulky and hard to useso CFCs were created because they could be kept in liquid form and in an only slightlypressurized can Thus in 1947 the spray can was born selling millions of cans eachyear Insecticides were only the first application for CFC spray cans They soon employeda number of products from deodorant to hair spray In 1954 188 million cans were sold inthe US alone and four years later the number jumped to 500 million CFC filled canswere so popular that by 1968 23 billion spray cans were sold in America The hopes of a seemingly perfect refrigerant were diminished in thelate 1960s when scientists studied the decomposition of CFCs in the atmosphere Whatthey found was startling Chlorine atoms are released as the CFCs decompose thusdestroying the Ozone O3 atoms in the high stratosphere It became clear that human usageof CF2Cl2 and CFCl3 and similar chemicals were causing a negative impact on the chemistryof the high
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