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Greenhouse Gases

California bans certain uses of HFCs, replicating EPA requirements nullified by federal court

by Cheryl Hogue
April 9, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 15

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Credit: Shutterstock
Frozen yogurt machines will be covered by California's ban on the use of HFCs.

California is banning a class of potent greenhouse gases in foams and certain types of refrigeration equipment by copying a U.S. EPA regulation that a federal court overturned last year. The California Air Resources Board in late March agreed to prohibit hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in vending machines, foams for building construction, small refrigeration systems used in convenience stores, and food equipment such as frozen yogurt dispensers. Issued under state law, the ban will apply to new equipment and foams used in California. This move “preserves the federal limits on the use of these powerful chemicals and refrigerants and provides more certainty to industry,” air board chair Mary D. Nichols says. Many industries are invested in the development and use of HFC alternatives that have low potential for global warming, she adds. Last August, a federal court sided with HFC makers Arkema and Mexichem Fluor and struck down a 2015 EPA regulation that required manufacturers to replace HFCs with substances that are less potent greenhouse gases. The ruling is under appeal.

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