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European cooling bodies publish advice on black market refrigerant

Combined guidance from AREA, ASERCOM, EFCTC and EPEE is devised to inform industry on how to determine the legality of refrigerant amidst concerns over scale of black market tra

Preventing the use of illegal refrigerant and its potential implications for safety and operational performance are the focus of a new report from several key European cooling associations.

AREA, ASERCOM, EFCTC and EPEE have published a new document intended to help industry distinguish safe and legal sources of refrigerant from black market products. The publication builds on ongoing concerns about the level of black market trade within the EU as quotas introduced under the F-Gas regulation continue to limit the amount of higher GWP gas allowed.

The new leaflet warns that the phase down of HFCs has increased cost pressures for individuals and organisations that still rely on products with higher GWP, making the need to identify illegal product even greater.

AREA said in a statement, “Refrigerants have become precious goods. They are essential for the safe and reliable operation of your business – just as medicine can be essential for your life. Therefore, you cannot afford to take any risk.”

Four key recommendations are set out in the guidance. This includes urging industry to ensure they are acquiring refringent from a reputable distributor.

Another key warning is to ensure that refrigerant is not being purchased in disposable cylinders that are now against the law in the EU. Legal supplies of gas should be provided in a cylinder that bears the ‘Pi (л) stamp’ as well as carrying notice of compliance with the EN 133221 standard and an end of service date.

Cylinders should also carry the year and month of production, while also being maintained and inspected every ten years, the guidance noted.

Buyers are also warned to be vigilant if being supplied product at an unusually low cost compared to the expected offer.

The publication urges industry against buying refrigerant on online sales platforms, citing concerns about the ability to ensure compliance and sufficient paperwork.

Individuals aware of suspected illegal activity concerning the supply of refrigerant are urged to anonymously report issues via the ‘EFCTC Action Line’ service.


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