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Traces of dangerous refrigerant found in returned cylinders

AUSTRALIA: The dangerous methyl chloride constituent found in fake R134a refrigerant cylinders has turned up in cylinders returned to an Australian refrigerant recycling company.
Although not connected, the news follows the recent product recall by Australian company Heatcraft after one of its Chinese manufactured ranges of refrigeration units, supposedly charged with R134a, was found to be charged with a cocktail of R22, R142b and methyl chloride (R40). If, as thought, the occurrences aren't connected, the R40 must have entered Australia through another route.

The presence of methyl chloride in counterfeit R134a has been blamed for a number of explosions and deaths in the refrigerated container industry last year.

Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA), a not-for-profit organisation based in Canberra working with the industry to recover, reclaim and destroy refrigerants confirmed to ACR News that traces of methyl chloride gas had been found in returned cylinders.

While the quantities were said to be very small, RRA general manager Michael Bennett said: 'It was enough of a concern for us to cease decanting operations until we were confident we could adequately test for the presence of chloromethane [methyl chloride]. This involved upgrading our gas chromatograph standards and processes.

'We are confident we have identified the level and sources of the contamination,' he said, adding 'The level of contamination does not pose a threat at this stage.

'Fortunately, we banned the use of disposable cylinders some years ago so the potential for ingress to our market is relatively low.'

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