Inhalers using chlorofluorocarbons (search) to dispense the drug albuterol (search) will be banned at the end of 2008, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

Chlorofluorocarbons, once widely used as aerosol propellants in a variety of products, have been removed from use because they can damage the Earth's protective ozone layer.

Their use with albuterol, which helps prevent wheezing, shortness of breath and troubled breathing caused by asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, had been exempted from the ban.

The FDA said Thursday, however, that by Dec. 31, 2008, there will be sufficient supplies of albuterol inhalers using environmentally friendly propellants. So, as of that date, inhalers using CFC can no longer be produced, marketed or sold in the United States.