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Freon is a trademarked name for a class of chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and related compounds. These colorless, non-flammable substances were widely utilized as refrigerants in air conditioning systems, refrigeration units, and heat pumps, as well as propellants in aerosol sprays. Developed by the chemists at DuPont in the early 20th century, Freon offered a safer alternative to previously utilized refrigerants like ammonia, which are toxic and flammable.

Freon's chemical stability and low reactivity made it an appealing choice for a wide array of applications. However, it became evident through scientific research that CFCs and HCFCs significantly contribute to the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. This depletion has severe environmental consequences, such as increased ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface, leading to higher risks of skin cancer and other health issues, as well as impacts on ecosystems.

In response to these environmental concerns, international agreements like the Montreal Protocol have mandated the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, including many forms of Freon. As a result, alternative refrigerants with lower environmental impacts are being developed and increasingly adopted in both residential and commercial markets.