Science & Research


 Science & Research
                             North  Pole  Expen
                             Drop  in  Ozone  L
                                 In late March 1997, satellite-based instru-
                                 ments measured unusually low levels of
                                 ozone over the North Pole. Scientists at
                                 the National Aeronautics and Space
                            Administration (NASA) attribute the low levels
                            to the presence of stratospheric halogens, which
                            destroy the ozone layer, as well as unusual mete-
                            orological conditions. These levels indicate that
                            ozone depletion may be more widespread than
                            previously thought.

                               The values measured were the lowest levels
                            measured over the North Pole during late
                            March. According to NASA, measurements of
                            total column ozone fell to a low of 219 Dobson
                            units on March 24. Total column ozone mea-
                            sures the level of ozone in a column extending
                            from the ground to the top of the atmosphere.
                            Dobson units describe the physical thickness of
                            the ozone layer. The low ozone values were
                                            measured inside the Arctic polar vortex, a part
                                            of the stratospheric circumpolar jet stream that
                                            surrounds the North Pole.

                                              The Arctic vortex witnessed particularly
                                            strong and persistent cold temperatures well
                                            into March. Temperatures were apparently low
                                            enough to form polar stratospheric clouds dur-
                                            ing late March, which helped convert certain
                                            forms of stratospheric chlorine into forms  that
                                            are highly reactive with ozone. When combined
                                            with sunlight at polar latitudes, the reactive
                                            chlorine destroys ozone. Further research will
                                            examine the causes of March's low ozone values.
                                              For more information, contact Paul Newman
                                            of NASA at 301 286-3806.
Sun  Sense  for Schools

          Did you know that the American Academy of Dermatology
          (AAD) estimates that we receive 80 percent of our exposure to
          the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays before we turn  18? Overexposure
          to damaging UV light can lead to a variety of health problems,
including skin cancer, cataracts, and immune suppression. According
to the AAD, skin cancer kills one American each hour. As a result,
teaching sun safety practices to our children can literally mean the
difference between life and death.
  To help educate children about the need to protect themselves from the sun, EPA is launching a
partnership program with the nation's schools. The Sunwise School program will encourage elemen-
tary schools to adopt goals to reduce children's exposure to the sun. Sunwise schools will set goals
that make sense for them and share their progress with EPA and other schools. For example, schools
can post the UV index every day, change recess times so children are not outdoors during the peak
UV exposure hours, incorporate a lesson on the UV index in science or math classes, build shade
         structures, or plant trees on the playground.
                                       EPA is currendy developing this program with input
                                    from educators, national medical experts, and others
                                      interested in improving children's awareness of the risks
                                      of overexposure to the sun.
                                        For more  information about the Sunwise School pro-
                                    gram, contact Kevin Rosseel of EPA at 202 233-9731.
2  Stratospheric Update

In   Search  of  Safer  Substitutes
     Identifying safer substitutes for ozone-
     depleting substances (ODSs) is crucial to
     ending the world's reliance on them. Yet,
     when the Montreal Protocol was signed  10
years ago, many feared that substitutes did not
exist or would be too ineffective to use.
Through its Significant New Alternatives Policy
(SNAP) program, EPA has proven these fears to
be unfounded.
   EPA is required to evaluate alternatives for
lower overall impact on the environment and
human health, and to publish lists of acceptable
and unacceptable substitutes. EPA does not
review alternatives  for technical feasibility. On
March 18, 1994, EPA issued the final rule
establishing the SNAP program and issued its
initial list of acceptable (including restrictions
where applicable) and unacceptable alternatives.
   The SNAP program categorizes alternatives
by eight industry sectors: refrigerants; fire sup-
pression; solvents; foams; adhesives, coatings,
and inks; aerosols;  sterilants; and tobacco
expansion. "Within each sector, alternatives are
further classified by their end use. Refrigerants,
for example, are categorized according to their
use in motor vehicle air conditioning, retail
food refrigeration, etc. EPA publishes periodic
updates to the list of acceptable and unaccept-
able alternatives.
   Results of the SNAP program have been
impressive. As of June 1997, EPA has listed
safer alternatives in each of the 8 industry sec-
tors,  including more than 160 acceptable sub-
stitutes for ODSs in dozens of end uses. The
SNAP program has gained widespread accep-
tance among industry as well. Manufacturers
and vendors of alternatives frequently use the
acceptance of their products by the SNAP pro-
gram as a promotional point.

   The search  for safer substitutes continues.
Although alternatives exist for the vast majority
of ODS uses, more substitutes are needed, such
as for niche uses in precision cleaning, fire sup-
pression, and explosion inertion.

   For more information about the SNAP pro-
gram, contact  the Stratospheric  Protection Hot-
line at 800 296-1996 or 301 614-3396.
Curbing Illegal

        Since the Clean Air Act passed in 1990,
        many individuals have tried to circum-
        vent restrictions on importing ozone-
        depleting substances (ODSs) into the
United States. Now that die phaseout is com-
plete for many ODSs, they are in scarce supply,
and buyers are willing to pay top dollar for them.
As a result, illegal import is a lucrative business.
Even under these circumstances, U.S. efforts to
              curb illegal imports are strik-
                ingly successful. In fact,
                  attempts to illegally import
                  ODSs led to die first crimi-
                  nal conviction under the
                  Clean Air Act, and the first
                 extradition of an individual
              for an environmental crime.
   The success of the U.S. efforts to halt illegal
imports is largely due to an effective partnership
among U.S. government agencies including EPA,
the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue
Service, die Customs Service, and the State
Department. Together, these agencies have con-
victed more than 30 people and seized more than
1.6 million pounds of illegally imported ODSs.
   Importers attempt to bring ODSs, in most
cases chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), into the
United States from a variety of places, including
Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They often
disguise the ODSs as other substances or falsify
claims of export. They also claim that imported
CFCs are "used." (Used CFCs are allowed to be
imported under the Clean Air Act; die Act only
prohibits the production or import of new
CFCs.) In order to verify claims that CFCs are
in fact used, EPA established a petition system,

                          (CONTINUED ON PAGE 6)
SNAP at a

•  SNAP acceptability of a
   substitute may be
   restricted or limited:
   — To use in narrowly
     defined circum-
   — Where no other
     acceptable substitute
     is technically feasible
     for performance or
     worker safety.
•  Users should insist on
   full copies of EPA
•  Users of SNAP-listed
   substitutes must com-
   ply with all other U.S.
   health, environmental,
   and safety regulations.
                                                                                               . Stratospheric Update  3

Milestones  of  the
Montreal  Protocol
                    by Stephen O. Andersen, Co-Chair,
                    Montreal Protocol Technology and Economic
                    Assessment Panel

                            When the Montreal Protocol was
                            signed in 1987, all but a handful
                            of global industry representatives
                            contended that scientists had not
                    yet proven chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
                    destroyed stratospheric ozone, that no safe sub-
                    stitutes existed, and that products made with or
                    containing CFCs were absolutely vital to society.
                    The control provisions of the Montreal Protocol,
                    however, have motivated industry to commer-
                    cialize numerous alternatives to ozone-depleting
                    substances (ODSs). As a result of corporate lead-
                    ership, regulatory phaseout targets established by
                    the Montreal Protocol have been easily achieved
                    and strengthened.
                          The time line on these pages presents
                          some of industry's key accomplish-
                           ments in ozone protection in the
                             past decade.
                                                     The Montreal Protocol on
                                                     Substances That Deplete the
                                                     Ozone Layer is signed.

Woolworth's Australia sets a goal of halting its
use of CFC refrigerants.
The Institute of Interconnecting and Packaging
Electronic Circuits publishes the solvent test
plan, which is accepted by the U.S. Department
of Defense as the technical basis for eliminating
CFCs from electronics manufacturing.
The Industry Cooperative for Ozone Layer Protec-
tion (ICOLP) is founded by AT&T, The Boeing
Company, Digital Equipment Corporation, Ford,
Camara Nacional de la Industria de la Transfor-
macion, Nortel/Northern Telecom, ICOLP, and EPA
form a partnership to eliminate CFC solvents in
Mexico by 2000; this inspires other developing
countries to consider rapid phaseout.
Developed countries halt halon production.

AT&T announces a new solvent made
from oranges to replace CFC-113.
The Foodservice and Packaging  Institute
and nongovernmental organizations
announce the world's first voluntary
national CFC phaseout.
Nortel/Northern Telecom and Seiko Epson
announce their corporate CFC-113 phase-
out goals.

The United Nations Environment Pro-
gramme organizes the Technology and
Economic Assessment Panel.
General Electric, Honeywell, Motorola,
Nortel/Northern Telecom, and Texas
The Halon Alternatives Research Corpora-
tion is founded to search for alternatives
to halons.
The Australian Government and the Associ-
ation of Fluorocarbon Consumers and
Manufacturers of Australia  agree to phase
out halon production and imports by 1996.
The National Fire Protection Association
eliminates halon testing requirements,
clarifies that training with halon is not
required, and accelerates the acceptance
of alternatives.

Digital Equipment Corporation
donates patented aqueous
cleaning technology to the
public domain—probably the
first donation for global envi-
ronmental protection.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
supports an accelerated phaseout and
endorses technology cooperation.
Lockheed Martin is the first company to
eliminate virtually all ozone-depleting
solvents from aircraft manufacture
(specifically the F-16 fighter), and
Lufthansa is the first company to elimi-
nate them from aircraft maintenance.
The U.S. Under Secretary of Defense
directs the military to rapidly eliminate
the use of ODSs from all weapons acqui-
sition programs.
The Coca-Cola Company halts the
purchase of CFC-based refrigeration
equipment, and other beverage companies
soon follow. Coca-Cola, with its market
clout, rapidly mobilizes manufacturers in
developed and developing countries to
supply ozone-safe technology.
The European Union halts CFC production
for all but export, essential uses, feed-
stocks, and process agents.
Forty multinational companies from seven
countries help the government of Vietnam
protect the ozone layer by pledging to
invest only in modern, environmentally
acceptable technology in their Vietnam
Developed countries halt production of all
ODSs except methyl bromide (with excep-
        tions for exports to Article 5(1)
          Parties and for essential uses,
           feedstocks, and process
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society, the
Society of Automobile Engineers, EPA, and
industry develop CFC recycling standards.
Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-
Benz, Nissan, and Toyota require fran-
chised dealers to recycle
Nissan commits to phase
out all CFC uses.
Daikin, DuPont, ICI, and Showa Denko are
the first companies to commercialize
         HFC-134a, and Asahi Glass
      "       builds the first HCFC-225
             production facility.
Minebea, the company previously con-
suming the largest quantities of ODSs in
Thailand, completely phases out its use of
 Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial,
 Mitsubishi Electric, Sanyo Electric, Sharp,
 and Toshiba, with a total of seven Thai
 joint ventures, complete the first develop-
 ing country phaseout of CFC refrigerators.
 Thailand subsequently prohibits the man-
 ufacture and import of new refrigerators
 containing CFCs and becomes the first
 developing country to use trade controls
 to protect the global environment
                                                                                             Stratospheric Update   5

Did You

   The Montreal Protocol
was among the first inter-
national environmental
treaties to:
"  Attain agreement by
   developed and develop-
   ing nations alike to
   bring about reductions
   in certain chemicals.
•  Establish a regime to
   deal with noncompli-
•  Create a fund to assist
   developing nations in
   meeting their commit-
»  Allow parties to take
   additional actions to
   reduce newly identified
   substances that pose
   threats to the ozone
                    he United States is
                    approaching final phase-
                    out of all products manu-
                    factured with
             chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Only
              one set of products made widi
            CFCs currently remains exempt
       from the Montreal Protocol, under an
"essential use" designation. Metered-dose inhalers
(MDIs), which use CFCs as a propellant  for
asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary dis-
ease medication, were given a medical exemption
to the ban on CFC products until CFC-free
MDIs were feasible and available. Now, things
are falling into place to remove the remaining
CFC MDIs from the list of exemptions. Two
recent events are facilitating the transition away
from CFC MDIs: (1) the development of the
first CFC-free MDI, which has been approved
for use as a drug by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and (2) the FDA's pro-
posal for a system to remove essential use prod-
ucts, such as CFC-based MDIs.
   FDA issued its Advance Notice of Proposed
Rulemakingto comply with the provisions of the
Montreal Protocol. The Parties to tie Protocol
had never intended the essential-use exemptions
to be permanent; they anticipated that alterna-
tive products would become available.  Generally,
the proposed rule states that CFC-containing
medical products would be considered for phase-
out once acceptable treatment alternatives and
adequate production capacity exist. In addition,
alternatives must be marketed for at least  1 year,
must serve all significant subpopulations (e.g.,
children and pregnant women), and must be
deemed acceptable by patients. Finally,  the supply
of alternative products must be sufficient  to
ensure diere will be no drug shortages.
   To date, FDA has received several thousand
comments on this advanced notice, and the
agency anticipates publishing a proposed rulemak-
ing by the end of 1997. Meanwhile, EPA is con-
tinuing to work with pharmaceutical companies
on facilitating die transition to CFC-free MDIs.
   The key to a smooth transition is educating
health care providers and patients about the new
medication, as well as about the global environ-
mental and public health reasons for the change.
EPA joins several other organizations involved in
this effort in an outreach campaign to inform
patients and  doctors about the Montreal Proto-
col and the imminent changes in medication it
will bring. In addition, educational materials will
assure patients that the medicine they depend on
will continue to be available.
   For more  information, call Chris O'Donnell
of EPA at 202 233-9079.
Curbing  Illegal Imports
whereby individuals wishing to import used
CFCs must notify EPA 15 days before the ship-
ment leaves for the United States. EPA then
independently verifies information about the
equipment from which the substance was
removed and reviews information about how the
substance will be used once it arrives stateside.
   Individuals accused of illegally importing
ODSs can be prosecuted civilly (and be subject
to fines of as much as $25,000 per kilogram of
ODS) or charged criminally (and face potential
prison terms). For more information about EPA's
efforts to curb illegal imports, contact Tom Land
of EPA at 202 233-9185.
6  Stratospheric Update

The  Fate  of  R-12

           On December 31, 1995, U.S. manufacturers stopped producing CFC-12, an ozone-deplet-
           ing refrigerant also known as R-12. Since the phaseout of this widely used chemical,
           which is still in use in many automobile air conditioning systems, the national supply has
           decreased and the price has risen. Vehicle owners and others who continue to use R-12
have been depending on stockpiles of the chemical purchased before the phaseout, R-12 reclaimed
from existing air conditioners and refrigeration equipment, and illegal imports.

   Most of the remaining R-12 is held by relatively few companies. EPA predicts that the current
U.S. supply, either for sale now or banked for future sales, should serve national demand through
this year and much of next year. EPA believes, however, that significant shortages may begin to
appear in 1998.

   As supplies dwindle and prices increase, consumers increasingly will face the decision of whether
to retrofit their motor vehicle air conditioners. Most cars manufactured
before 1995 use R-12 in their air conditioning systems. When these sys-
tems need repair, consumers can choose to retrofit or continue to  use
R-12. Retrofits involve installing new parts that allow the air con-
ditioning system to operate with more environmentally friendly
alternative refrigerants, such as HFC-134a. Retrofitting can save
consumers  money on future repairs, possibly increase the
value of a vehicle, and save the expense and
inconvenience of trying to find R-12. If
consumers  are not planning to keep
their vehicle for very long, however,
it may not be worth the money to
   For more information about the
supply of R-12 and retrofitting vehi-
cle air conditioners, see the resources
section on page 8, or call Christine Dib-
ble of EPA  at 202 233-9147.
A Helping Hand

In automotive service shops in Argentina,
China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Venezuela,
EPA has provided training and refrigerant
recovery/recycle machines and other equipment
to service technicians to reduce ODS emissions
associated with the maintenance and operation
of mobile air conditioning systems.  In the
Dominican Republic, EPA is introducing refrig-
erant recycling systems to refrigeration service
shops to reduce ODS emissions associated with
the operation, servicing, and maintenance of
equipment, such as large freezers and display
cabinets, used to refrigerate food.
   These and other projects would not have been
possible without the assistance and continued
cooperation of partner implementing agencies,
particularly the Montreal Protocol Unit of the
United Nations  Development Programme and
the United Nations Office for Project Services.
Most recendy, EPA is  also pleased to be working
with the "World Bank  in partnership with the
government of Thailand to implement a program
to reduce ODS emissions in the mobile air con-
ditioning service sector. For more information
about EPA's work in developing nations, contact
Gary McNeil of EPA at 202 233-9173.
                                                                                                    Stratospheric Update  7


   Champions of the World

      Since 1990, more than 300 individuals,
   associations, and corporations have
   received Stratospheric Ozone Protection
   Awards for their efforts to reduce ozone-
   depleting substances  (ODSs). A new EPA
   document, Champions of the World, high-
   lights the varied accomplishments of the
   award winners from 1990 to 1996. The
   document presents a  summary of each
   award winner, a time line detailing corpo-
   rate leadership "firsts," and essays cover-
   ing industry sectors that were successful
   in eliminating ODSs. In addition to an
   overview of corporate and military accom-
   plishments, specific chapters address the
   following industry sectors: foams, halons,
   refrigeration and air condi-
   tioning, and solvents. To
   request a copy of Champi-
   ons of the World (EPM30-
   R-97-023), contact the
   Stratospheric Protection
   Hotline at 800 296-1996.

   It's Your Choice

       EPA has developed
   two new publications to
   help consumers decide whether to
   retrofit their car's air conditioning system.
   The brochure It's  Your Choice: Retrofitting
   Your Car's A/CSystem explains the con-
   nection between  motor vehicle air condi-
tioners and the environment and presents
options for retrofitting motor vehicles
with air conditioning systems that use
chlorofluorocarbons. It outlines retrofitting
methods available and discusses the
advantages and disadvantages for each
retrofitting method. A companion piece,
How to Keep Your Cool and Protect the
Ozone Layer, presents questions consumers
can ask their service technicians to deter-
mine whether to retrofit their air condi-
tioners. To request a copy of It's Your
Choice: Retrofitting Your Car's A/C System
(EPA430-F-97-052) or How to Keep your
Cool and Protect the
Ozone Layer (EPA430-F-
97-005), call the Stratos-
pheric Protection Hotline
at 800 296-1996.

                          EPA &Oionc Depletio
A Closer Look at
Methyl Bromide
   A recent study funded by EPA, Environ-
ment and Agriculture Canada, and other
        organizations examines the use of
        methyl bromide in developing
       nations and the potential to sub-
       stitute safer alternatives. Produc-
            tion of methyl bromide, a
            powerful ozone depleter, will
            be frozen in developing
             nations by 2002, and phase-
             out of the product by 2010
             in developed nations is
              being reconsidered this
              year. The Technical and
              Economic Feasibility of
               Replacing Methyl Bromide
               in Developing Countries
               presents case studies on
methyl bromide use in Zimbabwe, Thai-
land, and Chile. It assesses opportunities
and barriers to introducing substitutes for
methyl bromide and identifies feasible
alternatives. To receive a copy of the
study, contact the Stratospheric Protection
Hotline at 800 296-1996.
 web sits 'Match::
What's Hot on the Ozone
Depletion Web  Site

http ://
                The Ozone Depletion
             home page receives an
             average of 80,000 visits per
             month and features infor-
             mation about the science
             of ozone depletion, the
             ultraviolet index, regulatory
             programs, and methyl bro-
             mide. With up-to-date
information and fact sheets, the Motor
Vehicle Air Conditioning section is one of
the most popular on the site. Numerous
fact sheets explain the effects of chloro-
fluorocarbons on the ozone layer, how to
handle refrigerants, and the substitute
refrigerants available to replace CFC-12.
For example, Choosing and Using
Alternative Refrigerants for Motor Vehicle
Air Conditioning, which explains alterna-
tive refrigerants considered acceptable by
EPA and conditions placed on their use,
was read 2,500 times during the month of
June. Visit the Motor Vehicle Air
Conditioning section directly
or as a link from the Ozone Depletion
home page.
    United States Environmental Protection Agency
    401 M Street, SW. (6205J)
    Washington, DC  20460

    Official Business
    Penalty for Private Use