US EPAUSA: The US Environmental Protection Agency is to amend its environmental regulations to allow certain hydrocarbons to be vented to atmosphere.

With hydrocarbon refrigerants becoming increasingly acceptable under US law, the EPA has announced that it is to amend recycling and emission regulations to exempt R600a, R290 and R441A under the EPA’s Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) programme.

The EPA says that this step is being taken “on the basis of current evidence that their venting, release or disposal does not pose a threat to the environment”.

The exemption will specifically relate to R600a (isobutane) and hydrocarbon blend R441A as refrigerant substitutes in domestic refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers, and R290 (propane) as a refrigerant substitute in retail stand-alone food refrigerators and freezers.

HCR188C, a blend of ethane (3.1%), propane (54.8%), butane (36.1%) and isobutane (6%) was the first hydrocarbon refrigerant to be accepted in the USA when it received EPA approval in 2010.