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Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome caused by bromochlorodifluoromethane from fire extinguishers
  1. M Matrat1,
  2. M F Laurence1,
  3. Y Iwatsubo2,
  4. C Hubert1,
  5. N Joly1,
  6. K Legrand-Cattan1,
  7. J P L’Huillier1,
  8. C Villemain3,
  9. J C Pairon1
  1. 1Unité de Pathologie Professionnelle, Service de Pneumologie et Pathologie Professionnelle, CHI Créteil, France
  2. 2INSERM E03-37, avenue du Général Sarrail, Créteil, France
  3. 3AIMTRSP, Chevilly Larue, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor J C Pairon
 Service de Pneumologie et de Pathologie Professionnelle, CHI Créteil, 40 avenue de Verdun, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France;


Although the neurological and cardiovascular effects of Freons have been extensively described, the respiratory effects have been less well documented. We report four cases of occupational asthma following accidental exposure to bromochlorodifluoromethane (Halon 1211) due to release of the contents of a fire extinguisher. All subjects developed an irritative reaction of the upper airways and lower respiratory symptoms immediately after exposure. Non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity was present for at least two months in all subjects and was still present more than two years after exposure in one case. The diagnosis of reactive airways dysfunction syndrome can be adopted in at least three of these four cases.

  • FEF25–75%, forced expiratory flow rate at 25–75% of forced vital capacity
  • FEV1, forced expiratory volume in one second
  • FVC, forced vital capacity
  • RADS, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome
  • chlorofluorocarbons
  • occupational asthma

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