In the United States, regulatory policy affecting fluorocarbons is primarily generated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the authority assigned by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 1990. This regulation establishes regulations for ozone depleting substances.
For the last 25 years, EPA has addressed fluorocarbons in many regulations on various issues. Implementation of the Clean Air Act required regulations addressing production of certain fluorocarbons, nonessential product bans, labelling, recovery/recycling/reclamation of used refrigerants, certification of contractors, importation of compounds, and many more.
One of the most important regulatory efforts was the development of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) - a program in which replacements for ozone-depleting compounds are approved for certain end uses. This program affected all of the sectors including mobile air conditioning, stationary air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, foam insulation, aerosols, solvents, fire extinguishers, and metered dose inhalers.
EPA has primarily used SNAP as a process to approve new materials and in July of 2015 finalized a new rule to add or delist over 100 materials and applications. This was followed by a second SNAP rule in April of 2016, which has added and changed status of some previously approved materials. For fluorocarbon producers SNAP will remain a primary US regulatory mechanism affecting our business. New molecules and blends are continually being submitted for approval and fluorocarbon producers are working to make readily available alternatives with lower global warming potentials that will be safe to use and also meet the future energy use standards.
Low GWP, safety and low energy consumption are all important properties of the new generation of fluorocarbon products. To ensure safety, The US Department of Energy (DOE) together with trade organizations ASHRAE and AHRI are contributing over $5 million to a project to test and develop new safety standards for the new materials.
In Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is the primary regulatory agency for issues involving fluorocarbons. In June 2016 ECCC published a new regulations which sets final rule on ODS and also introduces a new permitting system on HFCs beginning in 2017. Countries in Latin American have yet to propose regulations on HFCs, but Mexico is expected to be the leader with legislation in the next five years.
Canada, Mexico and USA have jointly submitted a proposal, called the North American Proposal, under the Montreal Protocol to decrease GHG emissions.