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U.S. EPA ORDERS LAS VEGAS AUTO SHOPS TO STOP USING HC-12A

Release Date: 12/18/1996
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, (415) 744-1578

   (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered six businesses in Las Vegas, Nevada, to cease using the chemical HC-12A  brand hydrocarbon refrigerant blend, a registered trademark of OZ Technology, Inc., as a replacement for the refrigerant CFC-12 (also known as Freon-12) in motor vehicle air conditioning units.  Thesebusinesses include: Econo Lube N' Tune at two Las Vegas locations, Specialized Import Automotive Service, Milford Automotive, Desert Buick-GMC Trucks, Inc, and Sprint Corporation, which services its own vehicle fleet.  

     Production of chloroflourocarbons, or CFC's, was banned by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 because they deplete the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which protects living things from harmful ultraviolet radiation.  Vehicle repair shop managers that service motor vehicle air conditioners should be aware that the Clean Air Act requires U.S. EPA to evaluate substitutes for CFC-12 refrigerant to determine whether such substitutes are acceptable, from a health and safety standpoint.  If U.S. EPA determines that a substitute is unacceptable, its use in motor vehicles is illegal.  

     On June 13, 1995, U.S. EPA banned the substance known as HC-12A , a hydrocarbon blend, as a replacement for CFC-12 in motor vehicle air conditioning. U.S. EPA prohibits the use of HC-12A  as a CFC-12 replacement for all uses except industrial process refrigeration.  The ban on HC-12A  covers all types of air conditioning systems.

     Using a flammable refrigerant in a system not designed for that type of refrigerant can be unsafe.  As of this date, the manufacturer of HC-12A , OZ Technology Inc. of Rathdrum, Idaho, has not submitted adequate risk assessment information to EPA to demonstrate the safety of using HC-12A  in automobile air conditioning systems.

     Violation of the order by any of the businesses named could result in assessment of a penalty of up to $25,000 per day of violation.  In addition, a knowing violation may result in a criminal conviction and possibly imprisonment.

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