Ozone Protection under Title VI of the Clean Air Act
In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act with Title VI, with provisions for protecting the ozone layerThe region of the stratosphere containing the bulk of atmospheric ozone. The ozone layer lies approximately 15-40 kilometers (10-25 miles) above the Earth's surface, in the stratosphere. Depletion of this layer by ozone depleting substances (ODS) will lead to higher UVB levels, which in turn will cause increased skin cancers and cataracts and potential damage to some marine organisms, plants, and plastics. The science page (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/index.html) offers much more detail on the science of ozone depletion.. These amendments require EPA to develop and implement regulations for managing ozone-depleting substances (ODSA compound that contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion. ODS include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, hydrobromofluorocarbons, chlorobromomethane, and methyl chloroform. ODS are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere. When they break down, they release chlorine or bromine atoms, which then deplete ozone. A detailed list (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/ods/index.html) of class I and class II substances with their ODPs, GWPs, and CAS numbers are available.) in the United States. They also ensure the United States' commitment to implementing the Montreal Protocol. Under this authority, EPA has created several regulatory programs, including:
- ODS Phaseout Program, which bans the production and import of Class I ODS and phases out the production and import of Class II ODS.
- Exemption Programs, which exclude specific uses of ODS from the phaseout, such as CFC-MDIs and methyl bromide.
- Imports & Exports Program, which establishes recordkeeping, reporting, and other requirements for importing virgin and used Class I and Class II substances.
- ODS Destruction Program, which establishes acceptable practices for destroying ODS in the United States.
- Stationary Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Program, which establishes service practices, technician certification, sales restrictions, and other requirements for these appliances and systems.
- Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning Program, which establishes servicing, technician certification, small can sales restrictions, and other requirements for these air-conditioning systems.
- Halons Program, which establishes installation, handling, and emissions requirements for halon fire suppression systems.
- Nonessential Products Ban Program, which concerns the ban on sale and introduction into interstate commerce of certain products manufactured with or containing ODS.
- Labeling Program, which establishes labeling requirements for ODS containers or products manufactured with ODS.
- Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, which identifies and evaluates substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.
EPA is also charged with enforcing these regulations. Learn about EPA’s efforts to enforce regulations pertaining to ozone layer protection.