Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are organic compounds that contain fluorine and hydrogen atoms, and are the most common type of organofluorine compounds. They are frequently used in air conditioning and as refrigerants in place of the older chlorofluorocarbons such as R-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons such as R-21. They do not harm the ozone layer as much as the compounds they replace, but they do contribute to global warming. Their atmospheric concentrations and contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly increasing, causing international concern about their radiative forcing.
Fluorocarbons with few C–F bonds behave similarly to the parent hydrocarbons, but their reactivity can be altered significantly. For example, both uracil and 5-fluorouracil are colourless, high-melting crystalline solids, but the latter is a potent anti-cancer drug. The use of the C-F bond in pharmaceuticals is predicated on this altered reactivity. Several drugs and agrochemicals contain only one fluorine center or one trifluoromethyl group.
In September 2016, the New York Declaration on Forests urged a global reduction in the use of HFCs. On 15 October 2016, due to these chemicals' contribution to climate change, negotiators from 197 nations meeting at the summit of the United Nations Environment Programme in Kigali, Rwanda reached a legally-binding accord to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
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