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Release Date: 3/19/1998
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

      (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that  All Star Rebuilders, Inc., of Fresno, Calif., has agreed to pay a penalty of $8,400 to settle an alleged Clean Air Act violation involving the use of  a flammable refrigerant, HC-12a , as a replacement for a banned stratospheric ozone-depleting chemical, chlorofluorocarbon-12 (CFC-12), in the air conditioning units in buses that it repaired in Fresno, Calif.  U.S. EPA also issued orders to three Honolulu hotels to stop using the substance, which is also sold under the brand names Duracool 12a and OZ-12 , in food and beverage refrigeration equipment.

     "Flammable refrigerants are prohibited for use as a CFC replacement in all end uses except industrial process refrigeration, because of our concern for safety," said Dave Howekamp, director of U.S. EPA's western regional Air Division.  "There are legal replacements for CFC-12 available and they should be used."

     U.S. EPA issued orders to stop using the restricted substance to the following Honolulu hotels: Hawaiian Prince Hotel Waikiki, Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel, and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider.

     In June 1995, U.S. EPA banned HC-12a  as a replacement for CFC-12, also known as Freon-12, in motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs).  HC-12a  and other flammable refrigerants sold under the names Duracool, or EC-12a, are prohibited by EPA as CFC-12 replacements for all uses except industrial process refrigeration.  The ban on HC-12a , Duracool, OZ-12 ,  EC-12a,  as CFC-12 replacements covers all types of air conditioning systems, truck trailer refrigeration systems, and food and beverage refrigeration.  Industrial process refrigeration is used primarily in petrochemical plants such as oil refineries.

     HC-12a  and similar products are flammable hydrocarbon blends.  They were banned as a CFC replacements for vehicle air conditioning systems and transport refrigeration because it can be unsafe to use a flammable refrigerant in a system not specifically designed for that type of refrigerant.  As of this date, the manufacturer of HC-12a , OZ Technology, Inc., of Rathdrum, Idaho, has not submitted the necessary information to U.S. EPA to demonstrate the safety of using HC-12a  in car and truck air conditioning systems or food and beverage refrigeration.

     Although CFC use in motor vehicle air conditioners (MVAC)  is still legal, production of CFCs was banned by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 because they deplete the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which protects living things from harmful ultraviolet radiation.  Truck and auto repair shops that service MVACs and other refrigeration and air conditioning equipment should be aware that the Clean Air Act requires U.S. EPA to evaluate substitutes for CFC-12 refrigerant to determine whether such substitutes are acceptable, from a health and safety standpoint.  If U.S. EPA determines that a substitute is unacceptable, its use in MVACs, air conditioning and certain other applications is illegal.

     Further information is available by calling U.S. EPA's Stratospheric Ozone Hotline, at  1-800-296-1996, or through U.S. EPA's publication "Questions and Answers On Alternative Refrigerants," which is posted on U.S. EPA's Internet website at:
 http:// .

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