FREON Alternatives & the EPA


Information Release:
Re: alternative refrigerants.

The American public has been given, in essence, one choice for an alternative refrigerant to banned CFCs such as FREON (a DuPont product). That one choice is HFC-134a (also a DuPont product).

Customers do not like HFC-134a because it is expensive and their refrigeration systems must undergo an expensive redesign or retrofit process to accommodate it. HFC-134a is not energy efficient and its corrosive nature promotes evaporation from the closed system which causes consumers to recharge their systems sometimes twice as often as was necessary with FREON.

Refrigeration technicians do not like HFC-134a for of all the above reasons plus it is toxic and dangerous to work with. Due to its corrosive nature, organic compressor lubricants must be replaced with expensive, carcinogenic, synthetic PAG oils which most technicians would rather avoid coming into contact with.

Environmental groups such as Greenpeace are not advocating the widespread acceptance of HFC-134a because of all of the reasons listed above, plus, 10 percent of HFC-134a's total production volume is toxic waste. HFC-134a production is also directly linked to the production of organochlorides, which the international environmental community has targeted for phase out by the year 2000.

Even though HFC-134a poses no threat to the ozone layer, HFC-134a has an incredibly high global warming potential. In other words, what good is an ozone-rich stratosphere if we have a troposphere choked with greenhouse gases?

Largely due to policies enforced by the EPA, the refrigerant alternatives that the American public has not been made aware of are hydrocarbon blends. Hydrocarbons (propane, butane, isopropane and isobutane, for example) are inexpensive readily available, organic compounds which can be blended into refrigerants without an industrial production process. Hydrocarbons blended into a quality, environmentally friendly refrigerant produce no toxic waste.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants, using the OZ Technology product HC-12a as an example, have an ozone depletion potential rating of zero as does HFC-134a. However, where HFC-134a scores a 1200 for global warming potential, HC-12a scores a negligible score of eight. HFC-134a is 150 times more contributory to the production of greenhouse gases than its hydrocarbon counterparts.


According to Greenpeace in a report entitled "A Chemical Disaster--Why HFCs Have No Future" from September, 1994, updated May 29, 1996, with a letter from Mark Russell of the Greenpeace Ozone Campaign, several countries within the world community are in the process of restricting the use of HFCs as refrigerants. The Danish government is planning to ban HFCs altogether.

Russell, from the Greenpeace Australia office, closed his 1996 letter to preface the 1994 report by stating, "As governments, corporations and individuals continue to search for technologies which meet sustainable criteria, it is regressive in every way to broaden the usage of a chemical (HFC-134a) which fails so dismally to reach even the minimum of these standards. In fact, to endorse the use of such a refrigerant when environmentally friendly alternatives that are safer, cheaper, more energy efficient and Australian made are available--hydrocarbons--would have to be seen as negligent in the extreme."

All countries working to ban HFCs as refrigerants are simultaneously embracing hydrocarbon blends as the answer to their refrigeration dilemmas.

"The UK government has indicated its wish to restrict HFCs and is required under the Climate Convention to develop policies which will return HFC emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, which is technically a near complete phase-out," wrote Greenpeace in the 1994 report.

Even in light of all the information available world wide to illuminate the widespread use of HFC-134a as one of the worst possible refrigerant alternatives to banned CFCs, the EPA insists upon foisting this dangerous chemical on the American public and the environment. Stranger still, the EPA refuses to place any hydrocarbon blends on its "acceptable" Significantly New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) list for first generation replacements to banned CFCs. EPA policy, whether by design or coincidence, is protecting a near monopoly in the marketplace for the largest HFC manufacturer, DuPont, while it makes it nearly impossible for American hydrocarbon blend refrigerant manufacturers to stay in business.

According to section 612 of the federal Clean Air Act, non-ozone depleting refrigerants such as HC-12a are legal and lawful to use as a second generation replacement to "acceptable" first generation replacements such as HFC-134a. In other words, HC-12a is legal to use, but only after a customer pays to have his or her CFC system purged of banned CFCs, pays to have the system retrofitted to accommodate HFC-134a and then pays to have the system charged with HFC-134a. Only after the customer has decided that he or she does not want to continue using HFC-134a and only after going through the inconvenience and expense to accommodate it can the customer legally use the less expensive, less toxic, less corrosive, more energy efficient and environmentally friendly hydrocarbon product. This is federal law which is illogical to the point of absurdity.

EPA policy has already driven a handful of American hydrocarbon refrigerant producers out of business. What makes the EPA's illogical "anti-hydrocarbon" policy suspect to being influenced by "special interests" is that the closer hydrocarbon producers like OZ Technology get to having their products mbraced by the world community as the answer to the world's refrigeration dilemma, the deeper the EPA reaches into its bag of dirty tricks in an effort to run those producers out of business. The EPA has recently lowered itself to violating its own absurd and illogical laws to terrorize a small company in northern Idaho--a company which produces a product exemplary of what environmentally concerned people all over the world have determined to be the most environmentally responsible refrigerant alternatives--hydrocarbon blends.


OZ Technology has a judgment pending in federal district court for a motion for temporary injunction against the EPA. OZ reopened the motion for temporary injunction which was settled out of court last February in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding. When the EPA signed the memorandum, it agreed to cease and desist the dissemination of false and misleading information about the legal standing of OZ products and agreed to stop badmouthing the company and its products. The EPA also agreed to an attempt to repair damages its policies had done to OZ in the marketplace. OZ was forced to reopen the case because the EPA was not only in violation of the Memorandum of Understanding, it had stepped up its harassment of OZ to levels far above beyond those which prompted the filing of the original suit in July, 1995.

OZ has filed a similar motion for temporary injunction against the EPA to be heard in the U.S. Appellate Court in Washington D.C. OZ lawyers expect the appellate court to hear the motion for temporary injunction by Thanksgiving.


The taxpayers of this country pay an enormous percentage of their wages to fund government agencies. It is the duty of all government agencies to spend the money they are budgeted in the best interest of the public who pays their wages and lavish benefits. It is the EPA's job to protect the environment; to support the use of the best and most environmentally friendly technologies; to seek the banning or restriction of the environmentally unfriendly or environmentally damaging technologies. To do anything else is a violation of the public trust and a slap in the face to the American public who pays their salaries and benefits. We do not pay the EPA, or any other government agency, to protect the interests of big business in the "free" marketplace. Whether by accident or design, current EPA policy regarding refrigerant alternatives is doing just that, at the expense of consumers, small companies and, perhaps more importantly, our environment and future generations of humans, animals and plants.

What is required here is not a blind acceptance of CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs or HCs to keep things cold. What we need is for the scientific community to fairly and impartially test all of the alternatives. The results need to be provided to the public and regulatory entities like the EPA so the specific products can be judged fairly and even handedly based upon their actual merits. As it stands now, the acceptability of alternative refrigerants via EPA policy seems to be based upon the lobbying power of the company which produces them.

If the playing field is leveled so all companies who wish to provide the world with a refrigerant alternative to CFCs can play, the world, and the people, animals and plants in it, will be given the best possible products derived from the best possible technologies which concerned and dedicated individuals have developed to meet the serious environmental challenges we face as we enter the 21st century.

If we allow government agencies to terrorize and imprison the individuals who have risen to the environmental challenges that face our civilization and have mustered the ingenuity to meet those challenges with viable technologies, we are allowing government agencies to doom all of the earth's inhabitants to deepening cycles of pollution and misery merely for the sake of insuring the immeasurable profits of a few.


Questions concerning the pros and cons of hydrocarbon refrigerants may be addressed to OZ Technology, 10900 Howell Road, Rathdrum, ID 83858, Voice: (208) 687-7000; FAX: (208) 687-5146; email: OZ Technology can also be accessed through the world wide web at:

This informational release was prepared by Media Access, Inc. Media Access provides favorable press to groups and persons who deserve it. Media Access is dedicated to printing the truth about viable alternative technologies which are not being made available to the public and dedicated to providing favorable press to groups or individuals who have identified problems in our society and are actively seeking solutions for them. While dominant medias have a tendency to give less than favorable press, or no press at all, to groups and persons whose activities are not in the best interest of big business or big government, Media Access utilizes the Associated Alternative Press (AAP) and specific mailing lists to distribute its stories to interested parties.

This particular informational release is of interest to everybody with concern for the environment and everybody with a refrigerator or an automobile air conditioner. Reproduction of this informational release for distribution to all interested parties is encouraged.

Don Harkins

                              Media Access Inc.                              
                      The Associated Alternative Press                       

Voice: (208)777-7888   FAX: (208)777-2032   P.O.Box 1806  Post Falls ID 83854

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