REACH proposals could hit HFC and HFO refrigerants


EUROPE: While Europe continues with the HFC refrigerant phase down, new proposals to be put before the Commission could see further restrictions or even bans on HFCs and HFOs.

On July 15, five European member states – Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark – published their intention to submit a joint restriction proposal under the European REACH regulations for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by July 2022.

This proposal includes any substance that has a CF2 group or a CF3 group – properties shared by HFC and HFO refrigerants.

The European REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation governs which chemicals can be manufactured and used within the EU. Any changes to this regulation would, in practice, override the F-gas regulation.

As first revealed by the Cooling Post last year, the restriction is intended to apply to the manufacture, placing on the market and use of all PFAS.

PFAS – perfluoroalkyls and polyfluoroalky – are a group of more than 4,700 chemicals. They are typically used in stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints, non-stick coatings and fire-fighting foams. They are known to be highly persistent in the environment, contaminating groundwater, surface water and soil, and causing serious health effects.

There is a concern in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry that this is a “catch-all” proposal which includes non-hazardous refrigerants vital to an orderly F-gas phase down.

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Cooling Post, 21 July 2021