Volume 42, Issue 6 (November 1997)
Two Traffic Fatalities Related to the Use of Difluoroethane
The 18-year-old white male driver and 17-year-old white male passenger of an automobile were killed when their vehicle crossed the median of a 4-lane highway and collided with a minivan. A can of airbrush propellant was found in the automobile of the deceased. The only drug detected during initial toxicological analyses was 130 mg/L ethanol in the blood of the driver. When performing ethanol analysis by headspace gas chromatography, an unidentified peak was observed in the blood of both deceased. This peak was identified as difluoroethane (Freon 152), the propellant in the aerosol can found in the automobile. The concentrations of difluoroethane in the blood of the driver and passenger were 78 mg/L and 35 mg/L, respectively. Based on a literature search we believe that this is the first report of the quantitation of difluoroethane in biological samples.