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FACT SHEET: Proposed Rule - Listing of Substitutes in the Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning Sector

Action

Background

How to Comment

Additional information (updated January 2007):

Several States have laws that may inadvertently prohibit use of these alternatives even if they are ultimately found acceptable by EPA for use in motor vehicle air conditioning systems (see table below). For example, Connecticut Statute Volume 5, Title 14, Chapter 246 (Motor Vehicles), Section 14-106 (Air conditioning equipment) states that "mechanical vapor compression refrigeration equipment which is used to cool the driver or passenger compartment of any motor vehicle shall be manufactured, installed and maintained with due regard for the safety of the occupants of the vehicle and the public, and shall not contain any refrigerant which is toxic to persons or which is flammable." This law prohibited toxic and flammable substances like ammonia and hydrocarbon refrigerant from being used in motor vehicle air conditioners and is consistent with Federal restrictions on these chemicals under the Clean Air Act.

State Law
Connecticut

Connecticut Statutes Volume 5, Title 14, Chapter 246, Motor Vehicles, Section 14-106, Air conditioning equipment
Idaho Idaho Statute 49-959, Air conditioning equipment
Indiana Indiana Code Title 9, Article 19, Chapter 2, Air Conditioning

Kansas

Kansas statute 8-1747, Air conditioning equipment

Louisiana Louisiana Revised Statute 32:375, Air conditioning equipment
North Dakota North Dakota Century Code 39-21-45, Air conditioning equipment
Oklahoma Oklahoma Statute 47-12-410, Air conditioning equipment
Texas Texas Transportation Code §547.610, Air conditioning equipment
Utah Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-1640 Air conditioning equipment
Virginia Code of Virginia 46.2-1088, Air conditioning units
Washington Revised Code of Washington 46.37.470, Air-conditioning equipment

It appears, however, that laws such as Connecticut 's could also restrict new technologies using CO 2 and HFC-152a refrigerants. While these refrigerants can pose risks if used without proper controls, EPA's proposed regulation would, if finalized, restrict their use to air conditioning systems that meet safe exposure limit


s, even in the event of a leak or an accidental release. 1

Other states have revised their laws to allow the use of refrigerants that are listed as acceptable under the Clean Air Act, while still protecting the public against hazardous refrigerants. For example, Montana regulations provide that "Air-conditioning equipment may contain only refrigerant that has been included in the list published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a safe alternative motor vehicle air-conditioning substitute for chlorofluorocarbon-12 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 7671k(c)." (See MCA § 61-9-426 online.) Wisconsin is another good example. "Flammable refrigerant" is clarified to mean a "substance containing butane, propane, mixtures of butane and propane, or other gaseous hydrocarbons when used or intended for use as refrigerants in motor vehicles." Flammable refrigerants are banned in vehicles "whose mobile air conditioners were not designed and manufactured to use flammable refrigerants." (See § ATCP 139.04 (11) online). Arizona uses a combined approach. Like Montana , it says that refrigerants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are acceptable. Like Wisconsin , it says that certain flammable refrigerants must be used in air conditioning systems designed for them. Furthermore, it provides a set of suggested standards that can be used to comply with the requirement. (See the Arizona Refrigerant Regulation online)

Automakers and component manufacturers have informed EPA that they will be making design and manufacturing decisions on the "next generation" air conditioning technologies by mid 2007. States may wish to potentially consider legislative or regulatory adjustments to allow use of refrigerants consistent with Federal listings so that automobile manufacturers may install new technologies that safely use these refrigerants.

1 Although CO 2 is harmless at normal atmospheric concentrations, it can have toxic effects at high concentrations. HFC-152a is flammable at concentrations above 3.7%. To comply with EPA's regulation, if finalized as proposed, air conditioning systems must be engineered to limit potential exposures to below safe limits established in the rule.


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