EPA’S OZONE DEPLETION WORLD WIDE WEB SITE:
Under the terms of an international treaty to protect the earth’s ozone layer, CFC-12 production (also known by the trade name Freon) will cease at the end of 1995. CFC-12 is one of the chlorofluorocarbons gases that are responsible for the Antarctic “ozone hole” and that have been linked to depletion of the ozone layer over the mid-latitudes, including North America. When you service auto air conditioning systems that use CFC-12, you should:
- Remember that it is mandatory to use recycling equipment whenever you are doing work that might allow refrigerant to escape.
- Offer to fix leaks in the air-conditioning system. It helps to protect the ozone layer and conserves CFC-12 supplies. It is not correct, however, to state or imply that leak repair is required under federal law. Doing so would constitute consumer fraud. (In Florida, Wisconsin, parts of California, Austin, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico, leak repair is required by state or local law.)
- Beware of illegally imported CFC-12 being offered for sale. This material could be confiscated by the government and because of its unknown origin could be contaminated.
- Stay informed about which alternatives refrigerants are approved by EPA for use in automobiles and what the automobile manufacturers are saying about how alternatives perform in their autos. Use only an EPA approved alternative. At present HFC-134a is the only alternative that has been fully tested and recommended by the automobile manufacturers.
- Handle refrigerants with care to prevent mixing. It is critical that supplies of CFC-12 and HFC-134a are kept free of contamination.
- At present, advise vehicle owners to have cars retrofit only when the air conditioning systems need major work. In the future, as supplies decrease and costs of CFC-2 increase, it is likely that retrofits will make economic sense in more cases.
- Follow the accepted procedures for changing fittings and marking refrigerants in auto air conditioners that have been retrofit.
- Be prepared to provide consumers with up-to-date information about the use of CFC-12 and substitute refrigerants. Service shops should be able to offer information as well as respond to questions. Having brochures, fact sheets, posters, and/or videos on hand will help educate consumers about their options.
EPA is working with the manufacturers and service technician associations to provide up-to-date information about automobile air-conditioners and the CFC-12 production ban. Call the Stratospheric Ozone Information Hotline at 1-800-296-1996 and ask for an Auto Technicians Guidance Kit.
Source: US EPA Office of Air and Radiation Stratospheric Protection Division
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Last Update – 20-March-97