2012-11-22. Effort to Curb Coolant Falters, Sometimes at Home

posted Nov 23, 2012, 12:41 PM by Alan Gould
| by  ELISABETH ROSENTHAL and ANDREW W. LEHREN, NY Times. Relevant to Ozone, chapter 9. Excerpt:  …The Environmental Protection Agency has tried to reduce use of …HCFC-22, which depletes the ozone layer and contributes to global warming, by imposing strict quotas on its production. Since 2010, it has also banned the sale of new air-conditioning units containing the compound, and has promoted recycling of the gas from old machines so it will not be released.  But … at Mr. Spector’s home circumvented all the agency’s rules and good intentions: Instead of finding and repairing the hole in his aging unit, a complicated task, a serviceman pumped in more coolant, which leaked out by the next day. When Mr. Spector called around for another solution, a salesman offered to swap in a new condenser unit, but one that still used HCFC-22 — meaning one more American home would continue relying on an environmentally damaging coolant for years. HCFC-22 is being phased out of air conditioners worldwide under an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol, and the United States has aggressively pressed poor countries to pick up the pace. But the United States has yet to put its own house in order. And, with 140 million central air units still running on HCFC-22 in this country, it is a major offender. …Regulatory loopholes allow manufacturers to sell parts that rely on HCFC-22, so systems using the old gas can be refurbished rather than replaced. There is almost no reclamation of the gas from old machines for recycling. The E.P.A. is behind schedule in imposing rules to ratchet down domestic production, and smuggling is rarely detected. Even where there are regulations — for example, repair technicians are legally bound to collect old gas rather than vent it — there is little enforcement. …. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/science/earth/air-conditioner-repairs-undermine-coolant-restrictions.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121123