28 March 2011
US looks set to follow EU ban on R134a in car ac
THE US looks set to follow the EU and ban the use of R134a in car air conditioning systems. The US EPA has agreed to grant a petition filed by a trio of environmental groups to withdraw the agency's approval for the use of the gas which will be followed by a formal 'notice and comment' rulemaking to set the phase-out schedule. This could take six months or more.
The decision comes after the new HFO refrigerant 1234yf - the preferred replacement option in Europe - was granted final US approval at the end of last month.
The Natural Resources Defence Council, a US-based environmental action group, took the lead on the original petition, and was joined by the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development and the Environmental Investigation Agency.
'The basis of the petition was that there are now alternatives to HFC-134a that cause less harm to the environment, including the HFC-1234yf approved for mobile air conditioning by EPA just a couple of weeks ago,' said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. 'EPA agreed that there were now alternatives that are better for the environment, and granted the petition.'