Peter is defrosting the freezer. He tries to dislodge a thick layer of ice using a hammer and knife. After a powerful swing of the hammer, he hears a pop and the fizzing sound of an escaping gas. What is that gas?
Refrigerators cool the air by using a coolant gas, called freon. When Peter heard a "pop," he accidentally punctured the coolant container, causing freon to escape. It is a colorless, nonflammable gas which has an odor of freshly-cut grass. Freon may cause lightheadedness, dizziness, headache and nausea. Symptoms are more severe if exposure occurs in an enclosed area. This type of exposure is usually not medically dangerous because refrigerators do not contain significant quantities of freon.
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