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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1999 Feb;36(2):146-51.

Biodegradation and ecotoxicity of HFCs and HCFCs.

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Solvay S.A., DCT/ES-Toxicology, Rue de Ransbeek 310, B-1120 Brussels, Belgium.


Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are used or developed as substitutes for fully halogenated chlorofluorocarbons. Based on the results of closed-bottle tests, the biodegradation of HFC-32, HCFC-123, HCFC-124, HFC-125, HFC-134a, HCFC-141b, HCFC-225ca, and HCFC-225cb was less than 60% after 28 days and therefore these compounds are considered not readily biodegradable. Standard acute toxicity tests with HCFC-123, HCFC-141b, and HCFC-225ca using algae, water fleas, and fish revealed EC50 values in the range of 17-126 mg/L. EC50 values of HFC-134a ranged between 450-980 mg/L. Fish studies with HCFC-141b and HCFC-225ca revealed bioaccumulation factors of <3 and 15-64, respectively. A study with plants revealed no effect of HCFC-141b on seed germination and growth of wheat (Triticum aestivum), radish (Raphanus sativus), and cress (Lepidium sativum). In conclusion, HFCs and HCFCs are not very toxic to aquatic organisms and terrestrial plants. No evidence for any aerobic biodegradation for most of the HFCs and HCFCs was found.

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