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Environmental organizations are asking EPA to switch a regulatory green light to a stop sign for a number of chemicals used as refrigerants or fire suppressing agents. They are targeting several hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorinated compounds as well as sulfur hexafluoride and trifluoroiodomethane. EPA approved these substances as acceptable substitutes for chemicals that deplete stratospheric ozone, notably chlorofluorocarbons and halons. Now, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development are petitioning EPA to yank that approval under the Clean Air Act because the substitute substances are potent greenhouse gases. The groups say their petition, which they filed last week, is aimed at substitute compounds that are the most-used in the U.S. for specific applications, such as car air conditioners, in which an alternative chemical with a lower global warming potential is available. EPA is expected to respond to the petition in coming months.
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