R-134A belongs to a group of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and is also known as HFC-134A. Hydrofluorocarbons are used mainly as residential and automotive refrigerants. HFC-134A was developed to replace chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants that contain chlorine, which damages the ozone layer.
HFC-134A replaced an older refrigerant, CFC-12 when CFCs were largely banned from use in 1987. HFC-134A does not damage the ozone layer like its CFC predecessors.
Auto air conditioners use HFC-134A as a refrigerant. Refrigerators and freezers can also use it as a refrigerant, and HFC-134A is also used in aerosol cans.
Though HFC-134A doesn't damage the ozone layer, it is not considered completely safe. The Global Development Resource Center considers HFC-134A a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
Michael Signal began writing professionally in 2010, with his work appearing on eHow. He has expert knowledge in aviation, computer hardware and software, elementary education and interpersonal communication. He has been an aircraft mechanic, business-to-business salesman and teacher. He holds a master's degree in education from Lesley University.