Safe Use of HCFC Alternatives in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning: Higher toxicity refrigerants

United Nations Environment Programme (2015-07-01)

As the phase out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) progresses, it is expected that there will be a considerably higher uptake, in particular in developing countries, of ‘alternative refrigerants’, such as hydrocarbons, ammonia, carbon dioxide, unsaturated hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) –or HFOs. Many of these alternative refrigerants have particular characteristics in terms of toxicity, flammability and high pressure which are different from those used previously such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and HCFCs. When refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment is installed, serviced, repaired and dismantled, safety issues need to be carefully evaluated and considered particularly when servicing technicians have to deal with refrigerants with properties that they were previously not familiar with. It is therefore important that the refrigeration and airconditioning industry adapts to both the technical and safety issues concerning these refrigerants.