News & Insights

Epa Announces Ban On Hydroflourocabons

On December 9, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule restricting the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). In a prepublication document, the EPA proposed the restriction of HFCs in refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps, foam blowing, and aerosols by 2025. The restriction would only apply if more environmentally friendly alternatives are available.

According to the EPA, HFCs are greenhouse gases that have high global warming potential. HFCs have increasingly become used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances in a wide variety of applications, including refrigeration, air conditioning, building insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. Economic growth in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors has also contributed to the proliferation of HFCs.

The EPA’s latest proposal under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which directs the EPA to implement regulations to reduce and manage the use of HFCs, requires manufacturers that use HFCs with high global warming potential in new products to switch to more “climate friendly” alternatives by January 2025. Exports of products containing the restricted HFCs would be banned by January 2026.

To support compliance and enforce the proposed prohibitions, the EPA proposes labeling, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements for products imported or manufactured using an HFC. The EPA also proposes a process for the review of technology transitions petitions submitted under the AIM Act by HFC using entities. These petitions would outline plans by HFC containing product manufacturers and importers for the transition to more environmentally friendly materials.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, there will be 45 days for the public to provide comments. Environmentalists, as well as air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration industry members, have praised the proposal.

The EPA previously proposed a rule establishing a baseline for regulatory reduction of HFCs to 60% of historic levels. The United States Senate has also ratified an international ozone protection agreement requiring the reduction of HFC emissions.