EFCTC looks to stem carriage of illegal refrigerants

Refrigerant manufacturers have stepped in to try and stem the flow of illegal refrigerant in Europe by demanding that the carriage of dangerous goods act is correctly applied.

With the F-gas phase down in force, Europe has been swamped by illegally imported refrigerant, disrupting the market and threatening the integrity of the phase-down process. Most of this illegal product is being traded in non-refillable (disposable) cylinders, a container which has been banned in Europe since 2007. These cylinders typically have a capacity of 5 to 10 litres and are transported in 20ft sea containers.

European refrigerant manufacturers group the EFCTC has written to competent authorities, institutions and transportation related associations, pointing out that these cylinders do not meet the ADR transportation agreement and asking for these regulations to be enforced.

The ADR (Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route) covers the carriage of hazardous materials.

In the letter setting out the EFCTC’s concerns, chairman Dr Nick Campbell points out that the refillable cylinders meet the US DOT requirements, but not the ADR requirements.

He writes: “Under Multilateral Agreement M239, certain gases and liquids in refillable pressure receptacles approved by the US Department of Transportation may be carried from the location of the temporary storage to the end users under strict conditions. Since the cylinders concerned are non-refillable, they clearly do not qualify under the exemption of M299.”

The EFCTC has launched a multi-level programme to fight against the illegal refrigerant trade and raise awareness of the problem. In March, the EFCTC launched a hotline to enable the confidential reporting of illegal refrigerant imports and sales activity.