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Chlorodifluoromonobromomethane, Halon 1211, Halon 1211 BCF, BCF, Freon 12B1
|Jmol 3D model||Interactive image
|Molar mass||165.36 g/mol|
|Melting point||−159.5 °C (−255.1 °F; 113.6 K)|
|Boiling point||−3.7 °C (25.3 °F; 269.4 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Brominated haloalkanes were first used during World War II as fire extinguisher for aircraft and tanks. Bromochlorodifluoromethane was introduced as an effective gaseous fire suppression agent in the mid 1960s for use around highly valuable materials in places such as museums, mainframe rooms and telecommunication switching centers. They were also widely used in the maritime industries in the engine rooms of ships and also in the transport industry in vehicles. Its efficiency as a fire extinguishing agent has also led it to be the predominant choice of fire extinguishing agent on commercial aircraft and is typically found in cylindrical hand-held canisters. Its advantages as a fire extinguishing agent are that it has lower toxicity than chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and that since it is a covalently bonded compound, it does not form conductive ions, therefore being usable on electrical equipment.
Use as a fire extinguishing agent, issues as an ozone depleting substance
Halon 1211 is an excellent fire extinguishing agent, as it is a streaming agent with low toxicity, a low pressure, liquefied gas, and effective on all common types of fires, A, B, and C. It is mainly used in portable and wheeled extinguishers, and small spot protection units for marine engine applications, and was never widely used in fixed systems like halon 1301 was.
The production of bromochlorodifluoromethane and similar chlorofluorocarbons has been banned in most countries since January 1, 1994 as part of the Montreal Protocol on ozone depleting substances. However, recycling of halon 1211 allows it to remain in use, although parts availability is limited to a few manufacturers and can be an issue. Halon 1211 is still widely used in the United States, despite its high cost, with the US Military being the biggest user, but Europe and Australia have banned its use for all but "critical applications" such as aviation, military, and police use.
The manufacture of UL Listed halon 1211 extinguishers was supposed to cease on October, 2009. The future listing is still in discussion. Halotron I is the replacement extinguishing agent. It takes a larger volume to get the same ratings as 1211 has.
This is a volatile extinguishing agent that should be used only with a breathing apparatus.
Abuse as an inhalant
Inhalation of bromochlorodifluoromethane and certain other fluorocarbon compounds can cause cardiac muscle sensitization to circulating epinephrine-like compounds, of which can cause an "adrenaline rush". In Australia, a Gold Coast teenager died after inhaling the contents of a yellow BCF fire extinguisher at a Southport park at about 11pm on April 7, 1994 where he and two others discharged the extinguisher, inhaling the gas. The news story also stated that six yellow BCF extinguishers were stolen from a nearby shopping centre four days earlier, which indicated it was not an isolated incident. A warning on a yellow BCF extinguisher highlighted in the news story stated that "[t]he fumes given off are liable to be dangerous, especially in a confined space."
- George H. Tryon et al., "Fire Protection Handbook Thirteenth Edition 1969", National Fire Protection Association, Boston Massachusetts, 1969, Library of Congress 62-12655, no ISBN.
- Arthur E. Cote et al., "Fire Protection Handbook Eighteenth Edition", National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, Massachusetts, 1997, ISBN 0-87765-377-1
- TEN Eyewitness News, 8 April 1994