News Analysis

U.S. On Track with HCFC Phaseout

Under the Montreal Protocol, as the 1987 international treaty to protect the stratospheric ozone layer is known, signatory countries agreed to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and certain other ozone-depleting substances. In the original treaty and subsequent amendments, the cap in HCFC consumption for developed countries was based on the following formula: 2.8% of the country’s 1989 CFC consumption plus 100% of the country’s 1989 HCFC consumption. Because these chemicals vary in their ozone-depletion potential (ODP), these calculations are based on weighted ODP values.

Under the treaty, each developed country was also required to achieve certain percentage reductions from this cap over a period of time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been responsible for developing and enforcing this reduction timeline in the U.S. through Clean Air Act regulations. EPA’s HCFC phaseout schedule, listed below, eliminates those compounds with the highest ODP values first.

Jan. 1, 2003—HCFC-141b production and import banned for all uses (primarily used in polyisocyanurate and polyurethane foam insulation).

Published February 26, 2009