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Ozone Layer Protection Milestones of the Clean Air Act

Throughout 2020 we will be highlighting the many achievements made possible because of the Clean Air Act Title VI - Stratospheric Ozone Protection.

From Discovery to Recovery: Follow our highlights for in-depth information on how we protect the stratospheric ozone layer. 

Ozone Layer Protection Milestones of the Clean Air Act

Overview

2020 is a milestone year for ozone layer protection in the United States. In the thirty years since Congress amended the Clean Air Act (CAA) to add Title VI: Stratospheric Ozone Protection, EPA has worked with many partners to develop and implement flexible, innovative, and effective approaches to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and heal the ozone layer. By restoring the ozone layer, we reduce the risks of skin cancer and cataracts.

Ozone-depleting substances have been used in many household, industrial, and military applications. In response to significant concern for our ozone layer, through the Montreal Protocol and CAA Title VI, the United States has been substituting ODS with safer alternatives. At the same time, global demand for refrigeration and cooling technologies continues to expand. Most transitions to safer alternatives have been seamless for consumers who use these products in their daily lives.     

Today, we see signs that the ozone layer is healing. Full implementation of the Montreal Protocol is expected to prevent 443 million cases of skin cancer and 63 million cases of cataracts in the United States alone. This remarkable success is due to the important and cooperative achievements that continue to be made by people, programs, and organizations working together to protect the Earth’s ozone layer.

Highlights

Don't Fry Day

Servicing Air Conditioning Equipment

Don't Fry Day
 
The Friday before Memorial Day, is Don’t Fry Day. Each year, on Don’t Fry Day, the EPA joins the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage Americans to take a few simple steps to protect their skin and eye health from overexposure to the sun. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in a painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. 
 
Learn more about Don’t Fry Day EXITand access resources on sun safety.  
 

Servicing Air Conditioning Equipment

On January 1, 2020, the United States ended production and import of HCFC-22, a common refrigerant used in many applications including residential air-conditioning (AC) systems. However, HCFC-22 may continue to be used to service existing systems for as long as necessary. HCFC-22 that is recovered and reclaimed, along with HCFC-22 produced prior to 2020, will help meet the needs of owners of existing HCFC-22 systems. 

Learn more about residential air conditioning and the phaseout of HCFC-22  and explore frequently asked questions about purchasing, servicing, or disposing of home air conditioners or other equipment that could contain ODS.