<strong>Importance of Protecting the Ozone Layer</strong>
The stratospheric ozone layer shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Emissions of certain synthetic chemicals – including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and ydrochlorofluorocarbons
(HCFCs) – that are commonly used as refrigerants, solvents, and insulating foams destroy the ozone layer and have created an “ozone hole” over the South Pole.
In addition, many of these ozone-depleting substances (ODS), as well as their substitutes, are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The purpose of this fact sheet is to help you understand requirements under the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program.
<strong>National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program</strong>
The Clean Air Act (CAA) defines EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. Section 608 establishes the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program.
The purpose of this program is to:
• Prohibit the release of CFCs, HCFCs, their blends, and substitute refrigerants during service, maintenance and repairs, and at end of life.
• Reduce the use and emission of CFCs and HCFCs.
• Maximize the recapture and recycling of CFCs and HCFCs.
• Ensure the safe disposal of CFCs, HCFCs, and their blends.
<strong>Prohibition on Venting</strong>
Section 608 prohibits individuals from intentionally venting ODS refrigerants (including CFCs and HCFCs) and their substitutes (such as HFCs), while maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of airconditioning or refrigeration equipment.
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EPA performs random inspections, responds to tips, and pursues potential cases against violators of the Section 608 regulations. EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of hese regulations.