Inhaling of chemicals, also known as “huffing” has become a dangerous trend for young people looking for a cheap high. The newest, and one the most potentially deadly, trends in this epidemic is inhaling refrigerant from Air Conditioner or Heat Pump systems.

According to an article from the New York Daily News, inhaling refrigerants such as Freon produces a high that is similar to what is felt from drinking alcohol. Doing so, however, can freeze the lungs, causing them to collapse, and can cause brain damage.

Californian Jacob Henry, 18, died in September after huffing Freon. “Huffing is a game of Russian roulette,” his mother Gail told Los Angeles’ KABC last fall. “Don’t ever consider doing it because that five seconds of high that you get when you do it, it isn’t worth dying over.”

Refrigerant inhalation led to the hospitalization of more than 2,000 people and killed at least two teenagers in 2009, KABC TV reported. In 2010 more than 7,000 people reported exposure to Freon and other inhalants, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, and nine people died as a result.

Aside from talking to young people about the significant danger posed by inhaling refrigerants, BelRed Energy Solutions recommends the installation of locking caps on the refrigerant lines of all AC and Heat Pump unit. These caps can not be opened without a special key, and can help prevent anyone from being able to gain access to the refrigerant inside them. These locking caps are even required by code now on new installations in some municipalities.

For more information, or to schedule the installation of locking caps on your AC or Heat Pumps system, contact BelRed today.

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