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US MAC industry warned of dangerous illegal refrigerant

USA: The global mobile air conditioning association, MACS, has warned of illegal online sales of a refrigerant containing a cocktail of ozone depleting components, as well as highly dangerous R40. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently alerted the market to online sales of a product marketed as Cool Penguin F-12. Sold in small cans through online retail platforms for motor vehicle air conditioner use, the product is marketed as being CCI2F2, better known as R12, the ozone-depleting CFC regulated under the Montreal Protocol.

However, the EPA claims that the gas is actually a cocktail of CFC12, CFC-14, HCFC142b and HCFC22, along with non-ozone depleting components. 

Under US regulations, the importation of these cans is illegal, and no person may sell or distribute, or offer for sale or distribution, any regulated ozone-depleting substance that they know, or have reason to know, was imported illegally.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide, the leading trade association for vehicle climate and thermal management, has further revealed that these “non-ozone depleting components” include HFC134a and R40.

Better known as methyl chloride, R40 was responsible for a number of explosions and deaths in the container refrigeration sector in 2011. At that time, counterfeit R134a refrigerant from China was actually found to contain a cocktail of refrigerants designed to mimic R134a’s operational characteristics.  

One of those components was R40, which reacts with aluminium to produce trimethyl aluminium. This substance is pyrophoric – igniting spontaneously in air causing fires and possible explosion at any time during use, or during maintenance operations. 

MACS points out that the use of Cool Penguin F-12 may damage the vehicle and poses a potential safety risk. It urges for any evidence of the sale of refrigerants that violate the Clean Air Act or other regulations to be reported to the EPA.

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