tank of freon that could be used for huffing

Air Conditioning Alert: Teens Huffing Freon from AC Units

Your air conditioning system has worked faithfully all summer long to keep you cool inside your home or place of business. If your system was manufactured before 2010, chances are that is uses R-22 Freon to produce the cool air you desire.

While you may have heard of R-22 for its ozone depleting qualities, you may not be aware of its deadly use by teenagers. Teens around the country are huffing Freon to get a high. Why has it become so popular among teens? Freon is easily available in outdoor AC units and has short-lived effects.

Why Is Huffing Dangerous?

It may seem harmless to teens, but this practice can cause death on the very first attempt. When inhaled, the chlorofluorocarbon gases replace the oxygen in the lungs and brain, freezing them and destroying brain tissue. This can result in death.

How Are They Doing It?

Teens can inhale the Freon directly from the unit. They can also capture it in a plastic shopping bag, and huff from that. Either way, the results can be deadly.

How Dangerous Is Huffing?

Unfortunately, reports released by the American Association of Poison Control Centers show that this lethal practice is growing in popularity among the youth of today. In 2009, 2 teens died and more than 2,000 others were admitted to hospitals. By the end of 2010, over 7,000 Americans reported exposure1.

How Can I Help Prevent It?

Your local AC contractor can install a locking cap that goes on your outside unit to prevent Freon access without a key. These caps are typically available for around $25, which is very affordable and a worthwhile investment.

Have you had a problem with low refrigerant levels this summer, without any sign of a leak? This may be a sign that that teens have used your system for this dangerous act. Call the friendly professionals at Mason Mechanical about getting a locking cap for your air conditioning system, or to inquire about our additional products and services.


1American Association of Poison Control Centers