Illegal R134a revealed as potentially dangerous fake

Car workshops in Romania are being warned that illegal R134a flooding the market includes fake material that is damaging vehicle air conditioning systems.

Tests by Romania’s Association of Automotive Specialists (ASAR) on Chinese refrigerant being imported and sold as R134a in illegal disposable cylinders have found them to contain mixtures of R22, hydrocarbons and other unknown gases with small amounts of R134a.

One of three “R134a” cylinders bought from the internet was found to be just 1.3% R134a. The remainder of the contents was predominantly R22 (96%) and a hydrocarbon. A second bottle was nearly 86% flammable hydrocarbon, with just 13% R134a and the rest air.

The third cylinder was potentially more worrying, being 27.6% R134a with the rest an unidentified gas. In 2012 there were a number of fatalities in the reefer industry due to explosions caused by fake R134a cylinders from China containing methyl chloride.

Illegal R134a revealed as potentially dangerous fake

Interviewed on Romania’s Pro-TV television station, ASAR president Victor Balaş blamed inaction by the police, customs authorities and border police for not stopping the imports.

While the whole of Europe has been affected by the seemingly unchecked illegal import of quota-busting refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders, the EU member states in central and eastern Europe have been particularly badly hit.