[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 89 (Monday, May 10, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25799-25815]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-10959]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286; FRL-9147-9]
RIN 2060-AP54


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Listing of Substitutes for 
Ozone-Depleting Substances--Hydrocarbon Refrigerants

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA).

ACTION: Proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 
Significant New Alternatives Policy program, this action proposes to 
list isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 as ``acceptable, 
subject to use conditions,'' as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbon 
(CFC)-12, also referred to as R-12, CCl2F2 and 
dichlorodifluoromethane and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22, also 
referred to as R-22, CHClF2, chlorodifluoromethane and 
difluorochloromethane, in household refrigerators, freezers, and 
combination refrigerator and freezers and commercial refrigeration 
(retail food refrigerators and freezers--stand-alone units only).

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 9, 2010, unless a 
public hearing is requested. Comments must then be received on or 
before July 26, 2010. Any party requesting a public hearing must notify 
the contact listed below under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 5 
p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 20, 2010. If a hearing is held, it 
will take place on May 25, 2010 in Washington, DC and further 
information will be provided on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone World Wide 
Web site at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2009-0286, by one of the following methods:
     http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line 
instructions for submitting comments.
     E-mail: A-And-R-Docket@epa.gov.
     Mail: Air and Radiation Docket, Environmental Protection 
Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 
20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286.
     Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room 
3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC, Attention Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286. Such deliveries are only accepted during the 
Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be 
made for deliveries of boxed information.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-
2009-0286. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included 
in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you 
consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through http://www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The www.regulations.gov Web sites is an 
``anonymous access'' system, which means EPA will not know your 
identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of 
your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without 
going through www.regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be 
automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is 
placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you 
submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name 
and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any 
disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to 
technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA 
may not be

[[Page 25800]]

able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of 
special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects 
or viruses. For additional instructions on submitting comments, go to 
Section I.B. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be 
publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket 
materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket, 
EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, 
DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the 
Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the 
Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Monica Shimamura, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Mail Code 6205J, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; telephone number (202) 343-9337; fax number (202) 
343-2362, e-mail address: shimamura.monica@epa.gov. Notices and 
rulemakings under EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) 
program are available on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone World Wide Web site 
at www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/regs.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. General Information
    A. Background
    B. Does this action apply to me?
    C. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?
    D. What acronyms and abbreviations are used in the preamble?
II. How does the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program 
work?
    A. What are the statutory requirements and authority for the 
SNAP program?
    B. What are EPA's regulation implementing section 612?
    C. How do the regulations for the SNAP program work?
    D. Where can I get additional information about the SNAP 
program?
III. What substitutes for ozone-depleting substances in what end-
uses are considered in this rule?
    A. What is EPA proposing in this action?
    B. What are isobutane, propane, HCR-188C and HCR-188C1?
    C. What end-uses are included in our proposed decision?
    D. Where can I find the regulatory text for these proposed 
listing decisions?
    E. What does an acceptability determination with use conditions 
for isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 mean?
IV. What criteria did EPA consider in preparing this proposal?
    A. Impacts on the Environment
    B. Flammability and Fire Safety
    C. Toxicity
V. Why is EPA proposing these specifics use conditions?
    A. New Equipment Only; Not Intended for Use as a Retrofit 
Alternative
    B. Standards
    C. Charge Size
    D. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping
    E. Labeling
    F. Unique Fittings
    G. Small Containers
VI. What recommendations does EPA have for safe use of hydrocarbon 
refrigerants?
VII. What other options did EPA consider?
VIII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review
    B. Paperwork Reduction Act
    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From 
Environmental Health and Safety Risks
    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
    J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address 
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 
Populations
IX. References

I. General Information

A. Background

    This rule pertains to four hydrocarbon refrigerants: isobutane, 
propane and HCR-188C and HCR-188C1. Globally, hydrocarbon refrigerants 
have been in use for over 10 years including in countries such as 
Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. In Europe and Asia, 
equipment manufactures have designed and tested household and 
commercial refrigerators and freezers to account flammability and 
safety concerns associated with using hydrocarbon refrigerants. Due to 
the fact that hydrocarbon refrigerants have zero ozone depletion 
potential (ODP) and very low global warming potential (GWP), many 
companies are interested in using hydrocarbon refrigerants in the 
United States (U.S.) as well. In this action EPA has received four SNAP 
submissions for use of hydrocarbon refrigerants in household 
refrigerators, freezers, combination refrigerator and freezers and 
retail food refrigerators and freezers (stand-alone only).

B. Does this action apply to me?

    This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) would regulate the use of 
four alternative refrigerants used in: Household refrigerators and 
freezers and commercial refrigeration (retail food refrigeration--
stand-alone units only).\1\ Potentially entities that may wish to use 
isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), HCR-188C, or HCR-188C1 in these 
end-uses, include:
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    \1\ HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 submissions included window air 
conditioners as an end use. EPA is acting on this end use in a 
separate rule making.

   Table 1--Potentially Regulated Entities by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Code or
                                                    Subsector
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                                               NAICS code or
                  Category                       subsector             Description of regulated entities
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Industry....................................          333415  Manufactures of refrigerators, freezers, and other
                                                               refrigerating or freezing equipment, electric or
                                                               other; heat pumps not elsewhere specified or
                                                               included (NESOI); and parts thereof.
Industry....................................          443111  Appliance Stores: Household-type.
Industry....................................          445120  Convenience Stores.
Industry....................................          445110  Supermarkets and Other Grocery (except
                                                               Convenience) Stores.
Industry....................................          722211  Limited-Service Restaurants.
Industry....................................          238220  Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning
                                                               Contractors.

[[Page 25801]]

 
Industry....................................          811412  Appliance Repair and Maintenance.
Industry....................................          541380  Environmental Testing Laboratories.
Industry....................................          423620  Electrical and Electronic Appliance, Television,
                                                               and Radio Set Merchant Wholesalers.
Industry....................................          423740  Refrigeration Equipment and Supplies Merchant
                                                               Wholesalers.
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    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a guide 
regarding entities likely to use the substitute whose use is regulated 
by this action. If you have any questions about whether this action 
applies to a particular entity, consult the person listed in the 
preceding section, FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

C. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

1. Submitting Confidential Business Information (CBI).
    Do not submit confidential information to EPA through 
www.regulations.gov or e-mail. Clearly mark the part or all of the 
information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or 
CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD-ROM as 
CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the 
specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one 
complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as 
CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information 
claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. 
Information marked as CBI will not be disclosed except in accordance 
with procedures set forth in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 
2.
2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments.
    When submitting comments, remember to:
     Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other 
identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date, and 
page number).
     Follow directions--The agency may ask you to respond to 
specific questions or organize comments by referencing a CFR part or 
section number.
     Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives 
and substitute language for your requested changes.
     Describe any assumptions and provide any technical 
information and/or data that you used.
     If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how 
you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be 
reproduced.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and 
suggest alternatives.
     Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the 
use of profanity or personal threats.
     Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period 
deadline identified.

D. What acronyms and abbreviations are used in the preamble?

    Below is a list of acronyms and abbreviations used in the preamble 
of this NPRM.

ACH--air changes per hour
AEGL--Acute Exposure Guideline Level
ASHRAE--American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers, Inc.
ANSI--American National Standards Institute
CAA--Clean Air Act
CAS Reg. No--Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Identification 
Number
CBI--Confidential Business Information
CFC--chlorofluorocarbon
cfm--cubic feet per minute
CFR--Code of Federal Regulations
EPA--the United States Environmental Protection Agency
FR--Federal Register
GWP--global warming potential
HC--hydrocarbon
HCFC--hydrochlorofluorocarbon
HFC--hydroflurocarbon
ICF--ICF International, Inc.
IDLH--Immediately dangerous to life or health
ICR--Information Collection Request
LFL--lower flammability limit
mg/l--milligrams per liter
MSDS--Material Safety Data Sheet
NAICS--North American Industrial Classification System
NIOSH--the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health
NPRM--Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OEM--original equipment manufacturer
ODP--ozone depletion potential
ODS--ozone-depleting substance
OMB--the United States Office of Management and Budget
OSHA--the United States Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration
PELs --permissible exposure limits
ppm--parts per million
REL--Recommended exposure limit
RFA--Regulatory Flexibility Act
RfC--reference concentration
SNAP--Significant New Alternatives Policy
TSCA--Toxic Substances Control Act
TWA --time weighted average
UL--Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
VOC--volatile organic compound

II. How does the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program 
work?

A. What are the statutory requirements and authority for the SNAP 
program?

    Section 612 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to develop a 
program for evaluating alternatives to ozone-depleting substances 
(ODS). EPA refers to this program as the Significant New Alternatives 
Policy (SNAP) program. The major provisions of section 612 are:
1. Rulemaking
    Section 612(c) requires EPA to promulgate rules making it unlawful 
to replace any class I (i.e., chlorofluorocarbon, halon, carbon 
tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and 
hydrobromofluorocarbon) or class II (i.e., hydrochlorofluorocarbon) 
substance with any substitute that the Administrator determines may 
present adverse effects to human health or the environment where the 
Administrator has identified an alternative that (1) reduces the 
overall risk to human health and the environment, and (2) is currently 
or potentially available.
2. Listing of Unacceptable/Acceptable Substitutes
    Section 612(c) requires EPA to publish a list of the substitutes 
unacceptable for specific uses and to publish a corresponding list of 
acceptable alternatives for specific uses. The list of acceptable 
substitutes is found at http://www.epa.gov/Ozone/snap/lists/index.html 
and the lists of ``unacceptable'', ``acceptable subject to use 
conditions'', and ``acceptable subject to narrowed use limits'' is 
found at 40 CFR part 82 subpart G.
3. Petition Process
    Section 612(d) grants the right to any person to petition EPA to 
add a substance to, or delete a substance from, the lists published in 
accordance with

[[Page 25802]]

section 612(c). The Agency has 90 days to grant or deny a petition. 
Where the Agency grants the petition, EPA must publish the revised 
lists within an additional six months.
4. 90-Day Notification
    Section 612(e) directs EPA to require any person who produces a 
chemical substitute for a class I substance to notify the Agency not 
less than 90 days before new or existing chemicals are introduced into 
interstate commerce for significant new uses as substitutes for a class 
I substance. The producer must also provide the Agency with the 
producer's unpublished health and safety studies on such substitutes.
5. Outreach
    Section 612(b)(1) states that the Administrator shall seek to 
maximize the use of Federal research facilities and resources to assist 
users of class I and II substances in identifying and developing 
alternatives to the use of such substances in key commercial 
applications.
6. Clearinghouse
    Section 612(b)(4) requires the Agency to set up a public 
clearinghouse of alternative chemicals, product substitutes, and 
alternative manufacturing processes that are available for products and 
manufacturing processes which use class I and II substances.

B. What are EPA's regulations implementing section 612?

    On March 18, 1994, EPA published the original rulemaking (59 FR 
13044) which established the process for administering the SNAP program 
and issued EPA's first lists identifying acceptable and unacceptable 
substitutes in the major industrial use sectors (40 CFR part 82, 
subpart G). These sectors include: Refrigeration and air conditioning; 
foam blowing; cleaning solvents; fire suppression and explosion 
protection; sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and inks; and 
tobacco expansion. These sectors compose the principal industrial 
sectors that historically consumed the largest volumes of ODS.
    Section 612 of the CAA requires EPA to ensure that substitutes 
found acceptable do not prevent a significantly greater risk to human 
health and the environment as compared with other substitutes that are 
currently or potentially available.

C. How do the regulations for the SNAP program work?

    Under the SNAP regulations, anyone who plans to market or produce a 
substitute for class I or II ODS in one of the eight major industrial 
use sectors must provide the Agency with health and safety studies on 
the substitute at least 90 days before introducing it into interstate 
commerce for significant new use as an alternative. This requirement 
applies to the person planning to introduce the substitute into 
interstate commerce,\2\ typically chemical manufacturers, but may also 
include importers, formulators, equipment manufacturers, or end-users 
\3\ when they are responsible for introducing a substitute into 
commerce. In this proposed rule we are addressing SNAP submissions from 
three companies interested in introducing into interstate commerce 
products that contain hydrocarbon refrigerants.
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    \2\ As defined at 40 CFR 82.104 ``interstate commerce'' means 
the distribution or transportation of any product between one state, 
territory, possession or the District of Columbia, and another 
state, territory, possession or the District of Columbia, or the 
sale, use or manufacture of any product in more than one state, 
territory, possession or District of Columbia. The entry points for 
which a product is introduced into interstate commerce are the 
release of a product from the facility in which the product was 
manufactured, the entry into a warehouse from which the domestic 
manufacturer releases the product for sale or distribution, and at 
the site of United States Customs clearance.
    \3\ As defined at 40 CFR 82.17 ``end-use'' means processes or 
classes of specific applications within major industrial sectors 
where a substitute is used to replace an ozone-depleting substance.
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    The Agency has identified four possible decision categories for 
substitutes: Acceptable; acceptable subject to use conditions; 
acceptable subject to narrowed use limits; and unacceptable. Use 
conditions and narrowed use limits are both considered ``use 
restrictions'' and are explained below. Substitutes that are deemed 
acceptable with no use restrictions (no use conditions or narrowed use 
limits) can be used for all applications within the relevant end-uses 
within the sector. Substitutes that are acceptable subject to use 
restrictions may be used only in accordance with those restrictions. It 
is illegal to replace an ODS with a substitute listed as unacceptable, 
unless certain exceptions (e.g. test marketing, research and 
development) provided by the regulation are met.
    After reviewing a substitute, the Agency may make a determination 
that a substitute is acceptable only if certain conditions in the way 
that the substitute is used are met to minimize risks to human health 
and the environment. EPA describes such substitutes as ``acceptable 
subject to use conditions.'' Entities that use these substitutes 
without meeting the associated use conditions are in violation of 
section 612 of the Clean Air Act.
    For some substitutes, the Agency may permit a narrowed range of use 
within an end-use or sector. For example, the Agency may limit the use 
of a substitute to certain end-uses or specific applications within an 
industry sector. The Agency requires a user of a narrowed use 
substitute to demonstrate that no other acceptable substitutes are 
available for their specific application by conducting comprehensive 
studies. EPA describes these substitutes as ``acceptable subject to 
narrowed use limits.'' A person using a substitute that is acceptable 
subject to narrowed use limits in applications and end-uses that are 
not consistent with the narrowed use limit, are using these substitutes 
in an unacceptable manner and are in violation of section 612 of the 
Clean Air Act.
    The Agency publishes its SNAP program decisions in the Federal 
Register (FR). EPA publishes decisions concerning substitutes that are 
deemed acceptable subject to use restrictions (use conditions and/or 
narrowed use limits), or for substitutes deemed unacceptable, as 
proposed rulemakings to allow the public opportunity to comment, before 
publishing final decisions.
    In contrast, EPA publishes substitutes that are deemed acceptable 
with no restrictions in ``notices of acceptability,'' rather than as 
proposed and final rules. As described in the rule initially 
implementing the SNAP program (59 FR 13044), EPA does not believe that 
rulemaking procedures are necessary to list alternatives that are 
acceptable without restrictions because such listings neither impose 
any sanction nor prevent anyone from using a substitute.
    Many SNAP listings include ``comments'' or ``further information'' 
to provide additional information on substitutes. Since this additional 
information is not part of the regulatory decision, these statements 
are not binding for use of the substitute under the SNAP program. 
However, regulatory requirements so listed are binding under other 
regulatory programs. The ``further information'' classification does 
not necessarily include all other legal obligations pertaining to the 
use of the substitute. While the items listed are not legally binding 
under the SNAP program, EPA encourages users of substitutes to apply 
all statements in the ``further information'' column in their use of 
these substitutes. In many instances, the information simply refers to 
sound operating practices that have

[[Page 25803]]

already been identified in existing industry and/or building-codes or 
standards. Thus, many of the comments, if adopted, would not require 
the affected user to make significant changes in existing operating 
practices.

D. Where can I get additional information about the SNAP program?

    For copies of the comprehensive SNAP lists of substitutes or 
additional information on SNAP, refer to EPA's Ozone Depletion Web site 
at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/index.html. For more information on 
the Agency's process for administering the SNAP program or criteria for 
evaluation of substitutes, refer to the SNAP final rulemaking published 
March 18, 1994 (59 FR 13044), codified at 40 CFR part 82, subpart G. A 
complete chronology of SNAP decisions and the appropriate citations are 
found at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/chron.html.

III. What substitutes for ozone-depleting substances in what end-uses 
are considered in this rule?

A. What is EPA proposing in this action?

    In this action, EPA proposes to list the following:
    (1) Isobutane, also referred to by the American Society of Heating, 
Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) refrigerant 
designation R-600a, and the proprietary hydrocarbon blends HCR-188C and 
HCR-188C1, as acceptable subject to use conditions as a substitute for 
CFC-12 \4\ in household refrigerators, freezers, and combination 
refrigerator and freezers. EPA proposes the following use conditions:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ CFC-12 is also referred to as R-12, 
CCl2F2 and dichlorodifluoromethane. Its CAS 
Reg. No. is 75-71-8.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The quantity of the substitute refrigerant (i.e., ``charge 
size'') shall not exceed 57 grams (2.0 ounces) in any refrigerator, 
freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezers;
    2. These refrigerants may be used only in new equipment designed 
specifically and clearly identified for the refrigerant (i.e., none of 
these substitutes may be used as a conversion or ``retrofit'' 
refrigerant for existing equipment);
    3. These refrigerants may be used only in refrigerators or freezers 
or combination refrigerator and freezers that meet all requirements 
listed in the 10th edition of Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 
250. In cases where the final rule includes requirements more stringent 
than those of the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, the appliance must 
meet the requirements of the final rule in place of the requirements in 
the UL Standard;
    4. The refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and 
freezer must have red, Pantone Matching System (PMS) 185 
marked pipes, hoses, or other devices through which the refrigerant 
passes to indicate the use of a flammable refrigerant. This color must 
be applied at all service ports and where service puncturing or 
otherwise creating an opening from the refrigerant circuit to the 
atmosphere might be expected and must extend a minimum of one (1) inch 
in both directions from such locations;
    5. Similar to clauses SA6.1.1 to SA6.1.2 of UL standard 250, the 
following markings, or the equivalent, shall be provided and shall be 
permanent:
    (a) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not 
Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.''
    (b) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Do Not Use Mechanical Devices. To Be Repaired Only By Trained 
Service Personnel. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.''
    (c) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Consult Repair Manual/Owner's Guide Before Attempting To Service 
This Product. All Safety Precautions Must be Followed.''
    (d) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Dispose of Properly In 
Accordance With Federal Or Local Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used.''
    (e) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion Due To Puncture Of 
Refrigerant Tubing; Follow Handling Instructions Carefully. Flammable 
Refrigerant Used.''
    The marking described in clause (a) above shall be permanently 
attached on or near any evaporators that can be contacted by the 
consumer. The markings described in clauses (b) and (c) above shall be 
permanently attached near the machine compartment. The markings 
described in clause (d) above shall be permanently attached on the 
exterior of the refrigerator. The marking described in clause (e) above 
shall be permanently attached near any and all exposed refrigerant 
tubing. All of these markings shall be in letters no less than 6.4 mm 
(\1/4\ inch) high.
    6. Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerator 
and freezers using these refrigerants must have service aperture 
fittings that are colored red as described above in use condition 
number four and which differ from fittings used in equipment or 
containers using non-flammable refrigerant. ``Differ'' means that 
either that the diameter must differ by at least \1/16\ inch or the 
thread direction must be reversed (i.e., right handed vs. left handed). 
These different fittings must be permanently affixed to the unit and 
may not be accessed with an adaptor until the end-of-life of the unit;
    7. These refrigerants may not be sold for use as a refrigerant in 
containers designed to contain less than five pounds (2.8 kg) of 
refrigerant.
    (2) Propane, R-290,\5\ as acceptable subject to use conditions as a 
substitute for CFC-12, R-502, or HCFC-22, in retail food refrigerators 
and freezers:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Propane is also known as R-290, HC-290, 
CH3CH2CH3 and 
C3H8. Its CAS Reg. No. is 74-98-6.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The charge size for the retail food refrigerator or freezer 
using R-290 shall not exceed 150 grams (5.3 ounces);
    2. This refrigerant may be used only in new equipment specifically 
designed and clearly identified for the refrigerant;
    3. This substitute may only be used in equipment that meets all 
requirements in the 9th edition of UL Standard 471. In cases where the 
final rule includes requirements more stringent than those of the 9th 
edition of UL Standard 471, the appliance must meet the requirements of 
the final rule in place of the requirements in the UL Standard;
    4. The refrigerator or freezer must have red, Pantone Matching 
System (PMS) 185 marked pipes, hoses, and other devices 
through which the refrigerant passes to indicate the use of a flammable 
refrigerant. This color must be applied at all service ports and where 
service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the 
refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected, and must 
extend a minimum of one (1) inch in both directions from such 
locations;
    5. Similar to clauses SB6.1.2 to SB6.1.5 of UL Standard 471, the 
following markings, or the equivalent, shall be provided and shall be 
permanent:
    (a) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not 
Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.''
    (b) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. To Be Repaired Only By Trained Service Personnel. Do Not Puncture 
Refrigerant Tubing.''
    (c) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Consult Repair Manual/Owner's Guide Before Attempting To Service 
This

[[Page 25804]]

Product. All Safety Precautions Must be Followed.''
    (d) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Dispose of Property In 
Accordance With Federal Or Local Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used.''
    (e) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or Explosion Due To Puncture Of 
Refrigerant Tubing; Follow Handling Instructions Carefully. Flammable 
Refrigerant Used.'' This marking shall be provided near all exposed 
refrigerant tubing.
    The marking described in clause (a) above shall be permanently 
attached or near any evaporators that can be contacted by the consumer. 
The markings described in clauses (b) and (c) above shall be located 
near the machine compartment. The marking described in clause (d) above 
shall be permanently attached on the exterior of the refrigerator. The 
marking described in clause (e) above shall be permanently attached 
near any and all exposed refrigerant tubing. All of these markings 
shall be in letters no less than 6.4 mm (\1/4\ inch) high.
    6. Retail food refrigeration using R-290 must have fittings that 
are colored red as described above in use condition number four and 
which differ from fittings used in equipment or containers using non-
flammable refrigerant. ``Differ'' means that either the diameter must 
differ by at least \1/16\ inch or the thread direction must be reversed 
(i.e., right handed vs. left handed). These fittings must be 
permanently affixed to the unit, and may not be accessed with an 
adaptor, until the end-of-life of the unit;
    7. R-290 may not be sold as a refrigerant in containers containing 
less than five pounds (2.8 kg) of refrigerant.

B. What are isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1?

    Hydrocarbons are flammable organic compounds made up of hydrogen 
and carbon. Isobutane has four carbons while propane has three carbons. 
HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 are proprietary blends consisting of primarily 
or exclusively of hydrocarbons. The chemical formula for isobutane, 
also called 2-methylpropane, is C4H10, also 
written as CH(CH3)2-CH3 to distinguish 
it from butane. Isobutane's identification number in the Chemical 
Abstracts Service's registry (CAS Reg. No.) is 75-28-5. The chemical 
formula for propane is C3H8 and its CAS Reg. No. 
is 74-98-6. As refrigerants, propane and isobutane can be referred to 
by the ASHRAE designations R-290 and R-600a, respectively.
    ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2007 categorizes isobutane, propane, and 
components of HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 in the A3 Safety Group. ASHRAE's 
safety group classification consists of two alphanumeric characters 
(e.g., A2 or B1). The capital letter indicates the toxicity and the 
numeral denotes the flammability. ASHRAE classifies Class A 
refrigerants as refrigerants for which toxicity has not been identified 
at concentrations less than or equal to 400 ppm by volume, based on 
data used to determine threshold limit value-time-weighted average 
(TLV-TWA) or consistent indices. Class B signifies refrigerants for 
which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm by 
volume, based on data used to determine TLV-TWA or consistent indices. 
The refrigerants are then assigned a flammability classification from 
one of three classes--1, 2, or 3 based on flammability. Tests are 
conducted in accordance with ASTM E681 using a spark ignition source 
(ASHRAE 2007). Figure 1 in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15-2007 uses the same 
safety group but limits its concentration to 3400 ppm.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10MY10.026

C. What end-uses are included in our proposed decision?

1. Household Refrigerators, Freezers, and Combination Refrigerator and 
Freezers
    Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerator and 
freezers are intended primarily for residential use, although they may 
be used outside the home. Household freezers only offer storage space 
at freezing temperatures, unlike household refrigerators. Products with 
both a refrigerator and freezer in a single unit are most common. In 
this NPRM, EPA is limiting the scope of our acceptability decisions to 
refrigerators and freezers and combination refrigerator and freezers 
with a refrigerant charge of 57 grams (2.0 ounces) or less.
2. Retail Food Refrigeration
    Retail food refrigeration includes the refrigeration systems, 
including cold storage cases, designed to chill food or keep it at a 
cold temperature for commercial sale. For the purpose of this proposal 
we are considering the use of hydrocarbons only in stand-alone 
equipment. A stand-alone appliance is one utilizing a sealed hermetic 
compressor and for which all refrigerant-containing components, 
including but not limited to the compressor, condenser and evaporator, 
are assembled into a single piece of equipment before delivery to the 
ultimate consumer or user, such equipment not requiring the addition or 
removal of refrigerant when placed into initial operation. Stand-alone 
equipment is used to store chilled beverages or frozen products (e.g., 
reach-in beverage coolers and stand-

[[Page 25805]]

alone ice cream cabinets). This proposed decision does not apply to 
large refrigeration systems such, as but not limited to, direct 
expansion refrigeration systems typically found in retail food stores. 
We are proposing as a use condition that stand-alone equipment using a 
hydrocarbon refrigerant have a refrigerant charge less than 150 grams 
(5.3 ounces).

D. Where Can I Find the Regulatory Text For These Proposed Listing 
Decisions?

    Our proposed decisions appear in a table at the end of the document 
and if finalized will be codified at 40 CFR 82 subpart G. The proposed 
regulatory text contains proposed listing decisions for the above end-
uses. EPA is proposing to find isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-
188C1 acceptable with use conditions. We note that there may be other 
legal obligations pertaining to the manufacture, use, handling, and 
disposal of hydrocarbons that are not included in the information 
listed in the tables (e.g., section 608 prohibition on venting 
refrigerant or Department of Transport requirements for transport of 
flammable gases).

E. What Does An Acceptability Determination With Use Conditions For 
Isobutane, Propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 Mean?

    In this action, EPA is proposing to find isobutane, propane, HCR-
188C, and HCR-188C1 acceptable subject to use conditions as substitutes 
for CFC-12, HCFC-22, and R-502 in certain refrigeration end-uses. If 
this proposal were to become final, it would be legal to use isobutane, 
propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 in the specified types of equipment 
under the conditions outlined above as a substitute for ozone-depleting 
substances (ODS). If this proposal became final, use in the specified 
types of equipment that is not consistent with the use conditions would 
be a violation of CAA section 612 and EPA's implementing regulations.
    EPA seeks comment regarding this proposal and, in particular, 
whether the proposed use conditions are adequate to ensure the safe and 
appropriate handling of hydrocarbon refrigerants.

IV. What criteria did EPA consider in preparing this proposal?

    Section 612(c) of the Clean Air Act directs EPA to publish a list 
of acceptable replacement substances (``substitutes'') for class I and 
class II ODS, where the Administrator determines they are safe for 
specific uses when compared with other currently or potentially 
available substitutes, and a list of prohibited substitutes for 
specific uses. EPA compares the risks to human health and the 
environment of a substitute to the risks associated with other 
substitutes that are currently or potentially available. EPA also 
considers whether the substitute for class I and class II ODSs 
``reduces the overall risk to human health and the environment'' 
compared to the ODSs historically used in the end use. The criteria for 
review are listed at 40 CFR 82.180(a)(7). These criteria are (i) 
atmospheric effects and related health and environmental impacts; (ii) 
General population risks from ambient exposure to compounds with direct 
toxicity and to increased ground-level ozone; (iii) Ecosystem risks; 
(iv) Occupational risks; (v) Consumer risks; (vi) Flammability; and 
(vii) Cost and availability of the substitute.
    EPA evaluated each of the criteria separately and then considered 
overall risk to human health and the environment in comparison to other 
available or potentially available alternatives in the same end-uses. 
EPA proposes to conclude that, overall, environmental risks posed by 
the four reviewed substitutes were not greater than the environmental 
risks posed by other substitutes in the reviewed end-uses. Because 
these four substitutes have zero ozone depletion potential (ODP), very 
low global warming potential (GWP), and are volatile organic compounds 
(VOCs) but insignificantly affect local air quality, the environmental 
risks associated with ODP GWP, and VOC effects are lower than or 
comparable to other acceptable substitutes. These and other 
environmental risks are discussed below. In addition, EPA has placed in 
the docket an analysis table comparing the four substitutes being 
proposed in this action and several substitutes that have been found 
acceptable in the refrigeration and air conditioning end use. The 
flammability risks to public health are of concern because household 
and retail food refrigerators and freezers have traditionally used 
refrigerants that are not flammable. Without mitigation, the risks 
posed by these refrigerants would be higher than other non-flammable 
refrigerants because individuals may not be aware that their actions 
could potentially cause a fire, and existing equipment has not been 
designed specifically to minimize flammable risks. Therefore, EPA is 
proposing use conditions to mitigate these risks to ensure that the 
overall risk to human health and the environment posed by these four 
substitutes is not greater than the overall risk posed by other 
substitutes in the same end use.

A. Impacts on the ecosystem

    This section will include the substitutes' impact on the 
environment including ODP, GWP, and VOC. The ODP is the ratio of the 
impact on stratospheric ozone of a chemical compared to the impact of 
an identical mass of CFC-11. Thus, the ODP of CFC-11 is defined to be 
one (1.0). Other CFCs and HCFCs have ODPs that range from 0.01 to one 
(1.0). All four refrigerant substitutes in this proposal have an ODP of 
zero,\6\ lower than the ODP of the substances that they would replace: 
CFC-12 (ODP = 1.0); HCFC-22 (ODP = 0.055); and R-502 (ODP = 0.334) 
(WMO, 2006). The most commonly used substitutes in these two end-uses 
also have an ODP of zero (e.g. R-404A, R-134a, R-410A, R-407C).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ CFCs and HCFCs are examples of ozone-depleting compounds 
unlike HCs which contain no chlorine. CFCs and HCFCs bring chlorine 
to the stratosphere, which cause depletion of the ozone layer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The GWP index is a means of quantifying the potential integrated 
climate forcing of various greenhouse gases relative to carbon dioxide. 
The 100-year integrated GWPs of isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-
188C1 are estimated to be eight, three, less than five, and less than 
five, respectively, compared to a value of one for CO2 (WMO, 
2006). These are significantly lower than the 100-year integrated GWPs 
of the substances that they would be replacing: CFC-12 (GWP = 10,890); 
HCFC-22 (GWP = 1,810); and R-502 (GWP = 4,660) (WMO, 2006). The GWPs 
for hydrocarbons (including the four being reviewed here) are minimal 
and are significantly lower than those of other acceptable refrigerants 
in these end-uses (e.g. GWPs of R-134a, R-404A, R-407C, and R-410A are 
about 1430, 3920, 1770, and 2090, respectively).
    The greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of these refrigerants also depend 
upon the energy use by appliances, since the ``indirect'' GHG emissions 
associated with electricity consumption typically exceed those from 
refrigerants over the full lifecycle of refrigerant-containing 
products. (Citation: J. Sand, S. Fischer, and V. Baxter, ``Energy and 
Global Warming Impacts of HFC Refrigerants and Emerging Technologies,'' 
1997, Oak Ridge National Lab) If hydrocarbon-using appliances are less 
energy efficient than the appliances they replace, then it is possible 
that these appliances will result in higher lifecycle greenhouse gas 
emissions even if refrigerant emissions are lower. Conversely, higher 
energy efficiency of these appliances would lead to lower GHG emissions 
than the reduction from

[[Page 25806]]

refrigerants alone. We have not quantified the full lifecycle GHG 
emissions associated with substituting traditional ODS refrigerants 
with hydrocarbons but acknowledge that they also depend on the 
appliance's electricity consumption and the fuel used to generate that 
electricity.
    Hydrocarbons are VOCs under CAA regulations addressing the 
development of State Implementation Plans to attain and maintain 
National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone, which is 
a respiratory irritant (see 40 CFR 51.100(s)). Potential emissions of 
VOCs from all substitutes for all end-uses in the refrigeration and air 
conditioning sector are estimated to be insignificant relative to VOCs 
from all other sources (i.e., other industries, mobile sources, and 
biogenic sources) (ICF, May 22, 2009, May 26, 2009, and July 17, 2009).

B. Flammability and Fire Safety

    Due to their flammable nature, isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and 
HCR-188C1 could pose a significant safety concern for workers and 
consumers if they are not handled correctly. In the presence of an 
ignition source (e.g., static electricity spark resulting from closing 
a door, using a torch during service, or a short circuit in wiring that 
controls the motor of a compressor), an explosion or a fire could occur 
when the concentration of isobutane, propane, HCR-188C or HCR-188C1 
exceeds its lower flammability limit \7\ (LFL) of 18,000 ppm, 21,000 
ppm, 20,000 ppm, or 16,000 ppm, respectively. Therefore, in order for 
these substitutes to be used safely, it is important to minimize the 
presence of potential ignition sources and to reduce the likelihood 
that the levels of isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, or HCR-188C1 will 
exceed the LFL. In production facilities or other facilities where 
large quantities of the refrigerant would be stored, proper safety 
precautions should be in place to minimize the risk of explosion. EPA 
recommends these facilities be equipped with proper ventilation systems 
to minimize the risks of explosion and should be properly designed to 
reduce possible ignition sources. EPA also understands that these 
hydrocarbon refrigerants will be used by original equipment 
manufacturers (OEMs) in specifically redesigned refrigerators and 
freezers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Lower flammability limit (LFL) = Lower Flammability Limit, 
the minimum concentration in air at which flame propagation occurs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For all four hydrocarbon refrigerants considered in this proposal, 
to determine whether flammability would be a concern for service and 
manufacture personnel or for consumers, EPA conducted a reasonable 
worst-case scenario analysis to model catastrophic release of the 
refrigerant. The worst-case scenario analysis revealed that even if the 
unit's full charge is emitted within one minute, none of these four 
hydrocarbons reached the LFL (ICF, May 22, 2009, May 26, 2009, July 17, 
2009, and November 6, 2009). However, as mentioned above, hydrocarbons 
refrigerants are flammable and service and manufacture personnel or 
consumers are not familiar with these refrigerator or freezer or 
combination refrigerators and freezers containing a flammable 
refrigerant; therefore, use conditions are necessary to create 
awareness of a flammable refrigerant and ensure safe handling. Detailed 
analysis of the modeling results are discussed below in the 
``toxicity'' section of the preamble. EPA also reviewed the submitters' 
detailed assessments of the probability of events that might create a 
fire and engineering approaches to avoid sparking from the 
refrigeration equipment.

C. Toxicity

    In evaluating potential human health impacts of isobutane, propane, 
HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1, EPA considered impacts both on exposed 
manufacture personnel, store employees, technicians herein defined as 
``worker,'' and on consumers. EPA investigated the risk of asphyxiation 
and of exposure to toxic levels of refrigerant for a worst-case 
scenario and a typical use scenario for isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, 
and HCR-188C1. EPA believes that the use of any of these hydrocarbons 
in the end-uses reviewed does not pose a significant risk of 
asphyxiation or of exposure to toxic levels to workers or consumers.
    EPA estimated the maximum time weighted average \8\ (TWA) exposure 
for each exposure scenario and compared this value to relevant industry 
and government exposure limits for isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and 
HCR-188C1 (including potential impurities in the substitutes). The 
modeling results indicate that both the short-term (15-minute and 30-
minute) and long-term (8-hour) worker exposure concentrations at no 
point are likely to exceed 2 percent (for isobutane), 50 percent (for 
propane), 4 percent (for HCR-188C), or 2 percent (for HCR-188C1) of the 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible 
exposure limit (PEL) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and 
Health (NIOSH) recommended exposure limit (REL) of the component 
refrigerants (for isobutane and propane) or the refrigerants components 
for HCR-188C and HCR-188C1(ICF, 2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Time weighted average (TWA) = An allowable exposure 
concentration averaged over a normal 8-hour workday or a 40-hour 
workweek.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EPA performed a consumer exposure analysis that examined potential 
catastrophic release of the substitute under a reasonable worst-case 
scenario. Estimates for acute/short-term consumer exposures resulting 
from catastrophic leakage of refrigerant from residential refrigerators 
were examined. The analysis was undertaken to determine the 15-minute 
and 30-minute TWA exposure levels for the substitute, which were then 
compared to the standard toxicity limits to assess the risk to 
consumers. However, the TWA values were conservative, as the analysis 
did not consider opened windows, fans operating, conditioned airflow 
(either heated or cooled), and other variables that would likely reduce 
the levels to which individuals would be exposed.
    This analysis assumed that 100 percent of the unit's charge would 
be released during a time span of one minute, at which time the 
concentration of refrigerant would peak and then steadily decline. 
Refrigerant concentrations were modeled under two air change scenarios, 
believed to represent the baseline of potential flow rates for a home, 
assuming flow rates of 2.5 and 4.5 air changes per hour (ACH) (Sheldon 
1989). The highest concentrations of the refrigerant occur in the lower 
stratum of the room when assuming lower ventilation levels of 2.5 ACH. 
Using a 2.5 ACH to calculate the TWA achieves a higher concentration 
than using 4.5 ACH to calculate the TWA. Because EPA looked at the 
worst case scenario it was only necessary to evaluate the TWA values 
using 2.5 ACH as 4.5 ACH TWA values would be in the acceptable range if 
the 2.5ACH TWA values were within the acceptable range.
    OSHA (2004) states no toxic effects are reported with exposures to 
isobutane below 18,000 ppm. Even under the very conservative 
assumptions used in the consumer exposure modeling, both the estimated 
15-minute and 30-minute consumer exposures to isobutane (5,025 ppm and 
3,844 ppm, respectively) are much lower than 18,000 ppm, and thus 
should not pose a toxicity threat.
    EPA also evaluated the same scenario with HCR-188C and HCR-188C1. 
The highest concentrations of HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 occur in the lower

[[Page 25807]]

stratum of the room when assuming lower ventilation levels of 2.5 ACH. 
Even under the conservative assumptions used in the consumer exposure 
modeling, both the estimated 15-minute and 30-minute consumer exposure 
levels of HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 are at least 50 percent lower than the 
30-minute acute exposure guideline level (AEGL)-1 values for the 
individual components of the blend and thus should not pose a toxicity 
threat.
    To assess end-use exposures to propane, an Acute Exposure Guideline 
Level (AEGL) was chosen as the most appropriate toxicological limit. 
This limit is an emergency guideline for exposures to the general 
population (including susceptible populations) and is not time-
weighted; it also considers the chemical's flammability in addition to 
its toxicity. A time-weighted limit was deemed inappropriate for this 
scenario because, due to the nature of a time-weighted calculation. As 
TWA are exposure concentrations averaged over a normal eight (8) hour 
work-day, it could allow a room occupant to be exposed to levels higher 
than the limit for a brief period of time. This is a concern for 
propane due to its flammability, as a higher exposure could approach 
the chemical's lower flammability limit (LFL--propane has an LFL of 
21,000 ppm).
    The EPA develops a set of AEGL values for a chemical for five 
exposure periods (10 and 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours and 8 hours). For 
each exposure period, three different AEGL values are developed to 
address different levels of toxicological impacts. Of relevance for the 
modeled scenario is the AEGL-1 (10,000 ppm), which is defined as: ``the 
airborne concentration, expressed as parts per million or milligrams 
per cubic meter (ppm or mg/m3) of a substance above which it is 
predicted that the general population, including susceptible 
individuals, could experience notable discomfort, irritation, or 
certain asymptomatic nonsensory effects. However, the effects are not 
disabling and are transient and reversible upon cessation of 
exposure.'' While permanent toxicological effects are not expected up 
to the AEGL-2 value (17,000 ppm for propane), this limit is not 
relevant for this analysis because at that level, flammability would be 
a greater concern.
    EPA analyzed consumer and worker exposure to propane in commercial 
food cabinets with a 150 gram charge size. The highest expected levels 
of exposure for this end-use occur in the lower stratum of the room. 
The result for propane is a 15-minute TWA of 10,414 ppm and a 30-minute 
TWA of 7,963 ppm. The 10-minute (AEGL)-1 value for propane is 10,000 
ppm.\9\ Specifically, for propane at the end-use, the modeled 15-minute 
time-weighted average exposure is 10,414 ppm (for practical purposes, 
there is no difference toxicologically speaking between this value and 
10,000 ppm (the AEGL-1 value), especially as this is a modeled 
concentration and is based on a worst-case scenario). As this exposure 
concentration is marginally higher than the AEGL-1 and significantly 
lower than the AEGL-2, serious or permanent toxicological effects are 
not expected for room occupants at the end-use. Therefore, it is 
believed that even under the very conservative assumptions used in this 
model, exposures to propane should not pose a toxicity threat. As the 
AEGL is an emergency guideline, and flammability is a concern for this 
chemical, it is recommended that room occupants should evacuate the 
space immediately following the accidental release of this refrigerant. 
As our submitters have stated an accidental release would be caused 
during service and maintenance therefore the service technicians would 
know to evacuate. For further information regarding accidental releases 
or fault tree analyses see the docket number EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/aegl/pubs/results96.htm EPA Web 
site accessed August 17, 2009.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Why is EPA proposing these specific use conditions?

    EPA is proposing to find isobutane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 
acceptable with use conditions in new household refrigerators and 
freezers and combination refrigerator and freezers (with a charge of 57 
grams (2.0 ounces) or less) and propane acceptable with use conditions 
in stand-alone retail food refrigerators and freezers (with a charge of 
150 grams (5.3 ounces) or less) that are designed and manufactured 
specifically to use these alternatives. The proposed listings with the 
specific use conditions are intended to allow for the use of isobutane, 
propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 where the current evidence shows that 
they can be used safely within specified parameters. We also seek 
comment on the proposed listing as well as the specific use conditions 
discussed below.

A. New Equipment Only; Not Intended for Use as a Retrofit Alternative

    EPA is proposing that the four refrigerants considered in this 
proposal must be used only in new equipment that has been designed and 
manufactured specifically for use with the listed alternative 
refrigerant, as follows:
     Isobutane--household refrigerators, freezers, and 
combination refrigerator and freezers;
     Propane--retail food refrigeration (stand-alone only);
     HCR-188C--household refrigerators and freezers and 
combination refrigerator and freezers; and
     HCR-188C1--household refrigerators and freezers and 
combination refrigerator and freezers.
    The four refrigerants were not submitted under the SNAP program to 
be used in retrofitted equipment. Existing equipment designed for other 
refrigerants may not be converted or retrofitted to use any of these 
four hydrocarbon refrigerants. These substitutes may be used only in 
new equipment that is designed to address concerns unique to flammable 
refrigerants.

B. Standards

    EPA is proposing the refrigerants may be used only in equipment 
that meets all requirements in UL Standard 250 10th edition (for 
isobutane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 in household refrigerators and 
freezers) or UL 471 9th edition (for propane in retail food equipment 
specifically in stand-alone refrigeration and freezers).\10\ UL has 
tested equipment for flammability risk in both household and retail 
food refrigeration. Further, UL has developed acceptable safety 
standards including requirements for construction, for markings, and 
for performance tests concerning refrigerant leakage, ignition of 
switching components, surface temperature of parts, and component 
strength after being scratched.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ EPA is referencing the UL Standard 250 Supplement SA; 
``Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable 
Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System'', UL 250 10th edition (for 
isobutane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1 in home refrigerators and 
freezers) and UL 471 9th edition Supplement SB; ``Requirements for 
Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the 
Refrigerating System'' (for propane in commercial refrigerators and 
freezers).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Charge Size

    EPA is proposing a limitation on charge size for refrigerators and 
freezers that reflects the UL 250 and UL 471 standards. EPA is 
proposing a charge size not to exceed 57grams (2.0 ounces) for 
household refrigerators and freezers and 150 grams (5.3 ounces) for 
retail food refrigeration in stand-alone units. To place this in 
comparison, EPA estimates the charge size of a disposable lighter is 
equal to 30 grams (1.1

[[Page 25808]]

ounce).\11\ Therefore we estimate that charge size of household 
refrigerators and freezers are equivalent to approximately two 
disposable lighters while retail stand-alone refrigerators and freezers 
are equivalent to approximately five disposable lighters or less. In 
comparison, the household refrigerator and freezer and retail food 
refrigerator charge size is significantly less than refillable butane 
lighter fluid which contains 340 grams (12 ounces). The refrigerant 
charge is smaller than the disposable propane fuel cylinders used for 
camping which contains 468 grams (16.4 ounces).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Study conducted by Ben and Jerry's/Unilever on the weight 
of butane contained in disposable lighters.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The UL 250 standard limits the amount of refrigerant that may leak 
to 50 grams (1.8 ounces). EPA selected 57 grams (2.0 ounces) to allow 
for up to 7 grams (0.2 ounces) of refrigerant charge that might be 
solubilized in the oil (and assumed not to not leak or immediately 
vaporize with the refrigerant in the case of a leak). UL standard 471 
limits the amount leaked to 150 grams (5.3 ounces). Furthermore, the 
charge size limit for propane (for retail food refrigeration) is in 
line with the IEC 60335-2-89 standard for commercial appliances, which 
has a charge size limit of 150 grams (5.3 ounces). EPA did not include 
an additional 7grams (0.2 ounces) of refrigerant that would be 
solubilized in the oil as we did in the household refrigerator and 
freezers end use. This is because 157 grams (5.5 ounces) would be over 
the international charge size standard for retail food refrigeration. 
As the international household refrigerator and freezers standard's 
charge size limit is 150 grams (5.3 ounces) larger than UL 250 
standard, EPA's suggested charge size for household refrigerator and 
freezers would be well below the international charge size limit. EPA 
is taking comment on the charge size limit on both the household 
refrigerator and freezers and retail food refrigeration end use.

D. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping

    EPA proposes that equipment must have distinguishing color-coded 
hoses and piping to indicate use of a flammable refrigerant. This will 
help technicians immediately identify the use of a flammable 
refrigerant, thereby potentially reducing the risk of using sparking 
equipment or otherwise having an ignition source nearby. The air 
conditioning and refrigeration industry currently uses distinguishing 
colors as means for identifying different refrigerants. Likewise, 
distinguishing coloring has been used elsewhere to indicate an unusual 
and potentially dangerous situation, for example in the use of orange-
insulated wires in hybrid electric vehicles. EPA is proposing that all 
such refrigerator tubing be colored red Pantone Matching System (PMS) 
185 to match the red band displayed on the container of 
flammable refrigerants under the Air Conditioning, Heating and 
Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Guideline ``N'' 2008, ``2008 Guideline 
for Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors.'' EPA believes that one 
color is sufficient for both household refrigerator and freezers and 
retail food refrigeration (stand-alone units) to indicate the equipment 
contains a flammable refrigerant.
    EPA wants to ensure that there is no doubt that a flammable 
refrigerant is being used within the equipment or appliance. Currently, 
no industry standard exists for color-coded hoses or pipes for 
isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, or HCR-188C1. EPA is taking comment on 
the potential development of an industry-wide standard for hoses and 
pipes for flammable refrigerants.
    One mechanism to distinguish hoses and pipes that EPA would find 
acceptable is to add a colored plastic sleeve or cap to the service 
tube. The colored plastic sleeve or cap would have to be forcibly 
removed in order to access the service tube. This would signal to the 
technician that the refrigeration circuit that she/he was about to 
access contained a flammable refrigerant, even if all warning labels 
were somehow removed. This sleeve could be boldly marked with a 
specific color or graphic to indicate the refrigerant was flammable. 
This could be a cost-effective means as an alternative to painting or 
dying the hose or pipe. EPA is taking comment on this mechanism of 
distinguishing the pipe and hose by adding a colored plastic sleeve or 
cap to the pipe or hose.
    EPA is particularly concerned with ensuring adequate and proper 
notification for servicing and disposal of appliances containing 
flammable refrigerants. EPA believes the use of color-coded hoses, as 
well as the use of warning labels and unique fittings discussed below, 
would be reasonable and would be consistent with other general industry 
practices. EPA requests comment on whether such color coding would 
provide, in combination with other proposed use conditions, adequate 
warning of the use of a flammable refrigerant and, if so, whether such 
color-coding should be required for all tubing or just some, e.g., 
around service ports.

E. Labeling

    As a use condition, EPA is proposing to require labeling of 
household and retail refrigerators and freezers. EPA is proposing the 
warning labels on the equipment contain letters at least \1/4\ inch 
high. The label must be permanently affixed to the refrigerator until 
the refrigerator's end of life. Warning label language for household 
refrigerators and freezers is found in UL 250 as SA6.1 and for 
commercial refrigerators and freezers in UL 471 as SB6.1.
    EPA believes that it would be difficult to see the warning labels 
with UL 250 and 471's minimum lettering height requirement of \1/8\ 
inch. Therefore, EPA is proposing the minimum height must be \1/4\ inch 
as opposed to \1/8\ inch for lettering, which will make it easier for 
technicians, consumers, retail storeowners, and emergency first 
responders to view the warning labels. EPA is requesting comment on 
requiring labeling, the height of the lettering, whether specific 
colors or symbols are also needed, and the likelihood of labels 
remaining on a product throughout the lifecycle of the product, 
including its disposal.

F. Unique Fittings

    EPA is proposing that household and retail refrigerators and 
freezers using these refrigerants must have fittings unique to 
flammable refrigerants (with unique color and unique thread direction 
or fitting diameter to the refrigerant). Instead of having separate 
fittings for each type of flammable refrigerant, EPA believes one 
unique fitting for all flammable refrigerants is sufficient. We believe 
that using flammable refrigerants with a unique set of fittings will 
prevent the accidental mixing of flammable and non-flammable 
refrigerants. These fittings (male or female, as appropriate) are 
attachment points on the equipment itself, on all recovery equipment, 
on charging equipment, and on all refrigerant containers. Unique 
fittings are defined in 64 FR 22983, April 28, 1999 as: ``For screw-on-
fittings, ``differ'' means that either the diameter must differ by at 
least 1/16 inch or the thread direction must be reversed (i.e., right 
handed vs. left handed). Simply changing the thread pitch is not 
sufficient. For quick-connect fittings, ``differ'' means that a person 
using normal force and normal tools (including wrenches) must not be 
able to cross-connect fittings.''
    EPA believes that service ports are necessary to facilitate 
recovery of refrigerant during service or disposal of

[[Page 25809]]

appliances. EPA notes that service apertures on small appliances using 
class I and class II substances is required by the CAA section 
608(b)(2). Service ports allow for the proper recovery of refrigerant 
during service or disposal of refrigerators and freezers because 
service ports act as an access point for recovery equipment. As 
required by 40 CFR 82.154(a)(1), no refrigerant may be knowingly 
vented. Therefore, prior to disposal of the equipment all refrigerants 
must be recovered. Without the service port on the equipment, there is 
no mechanism to recover the refrigerant without cutting into the 
refrigerant lines.
    In addition, EPA is requiring that flammable refrigerant fittings 
must be designed to mechanically prevent cross-charging with another 
non-flammable refrigerant. EPA believes that it is likely that 
technicians servicing hydrocarbon appliances will also service 
appliances containing CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants. The multitude of 
refrigerants could lead to unintentional mixing of recovered 
refrigerant resulting in emissions of contaminated refrigerant that 
might not be able to be economically separated and/or reclaimed. EPA 
believes that unique fittings will aid in the prevention of such 
contamination that might prevent recycling and reclamation of otherwise 
useful non-flammable refrigerant. This is especially important as the 
HCFC allocation rule becomes effective on January 1, 2010, it is 
expected the supply of HCFC-22 will become limited during the middle of 
the coming decade. Recycling and reclamation of HCFC-22 will be 
necessary to maintain an ample supply of HCFC-22.
    Traditionally the refrigeration industry has not used unique 
fittings; however, it has been required in the motor vehicle air 
conditioning industry since June 13, 1995 (60 FR 31096). For further 
clarification please refer to April 28, 1999 (64 FR 22983) where EPA 
defined uniqueness of fittings for motor vehicle air conditioners using 
substitutes under SNAP. EPA believes that the use of unique fittings in 
stationary refrigeration and air conditioning are appropriate for 
flammable refrigerants. Unique fittings would help maintain the 
separation of flammable refrigerants from equipment designed for non-
flammable refrigerants because the equipment for charging flammable 
refrigerants would not be able to be used on other equipment. This 
should reduce the risk of fire by ensuring that flammable refrigerants 
are used only in equipment designed for flammable refrigerants. In 
addition, the use of unique fittings can help in identifying the 
refrigerant being used and reducing the likelihood that flammable 
refrigerant might contaminate supplies of recovered nonflammable 
refrigerant containing CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs.
    EPA requests comments on the potential use of unique fittings, 
whether one such unique fitting is adequate to cover all flammable 
refrigerants, the adequacy of the definition of unique fittings, and 
the likelihood that such fitting would achieve the objectives of 
avoiding refrigerant contamination and maintaining safety in a market 
where both flammable and non-flammable refrigerants may be utilized. 
EPA is also requesting comment on the applicability of the ANSI/ASHRAE 
34-2007 standard for flammability and whether these use conditions are 
appropriate to ensure safety.

G. Small Containers

    EPA is proposing that these four refrigerants may not be sold for 
use in the listed end uses as a refrigerant in containers in quantities 
of less than five pounds (2.8 kg). This restriction would ban the sale 
of small canisters of refrigerant-grade hydrocarbons. The purpose of 
this proposal is to prevent purchase by untrained people who would not 
have the appropriate skills or equipment to properly recover or charge 
the refrigerant. Larger containers of flammable refrigerant would also 
typically be purchased by technicians rather than untrained people 
because the larger amount of refrigerant would be less useful to 
individual users, who would typically need only a small amount, and the 
larger quantity could be cost prohibitive to individual users. 
Therefore this would reduce the possibility that untrained people would 
handle the flammable refrigerant, accidentally add flammable 
refrigerants to a CFC, HCFC, or HFC refrigerant, or would incorrectly 
dispose of the containers.
    Contaminating a CFC, HCFC, or HFC refrigerant will cause the 
refrigerant to be potentially unusable. Mixing of refrigerants is 
counter to overall Title VI implementation. Consequently, the wasted 
refrigerant would have to be disposed of properly rather than reused, 
potentially further limiting the tight supply of HCFC-22 in the coming 
decade. The SNAP program, together with other Title VI regulations, 
seeks to ensure a smooth transition as we continue to phase out ODS, 
including HCFC-22. In addition to contaminating the refrigerant, an 
untrained person could potentially add a flammable refrigerant to 
equipment that is not designed for flammable refrigerant and, as a 
result, damage the equipment or appliance or create a fire hazard. To 
prevent refrigerant contamination, addition of the incorrect 
refrigerant, or incorrect disposal of canisters and to avoid the risk 
of explosions or fire, EPA proposes a use condition prohibiting small 
containers of isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1, i.e., 
containers of less than five lbs (2.8 kg). EPA is seeking comment on 
this restriction on small canisters of refrigerant grade hydrocarbons 
such as R-600a, R-290, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1. EPA is also requesting 
comment on the potential cost of the containers of hydrocarbon 
refrigerant and if the cost of such containers of hydrocarbon 
refrigerants would be different from the current cost of a similar 
quantity of propane or isobutane currently sold for other purposes.

VI. What recommendations does EPA have for safe use of hydrocarbon 
refrigerants?

    EPA proposes to recommend that only technicians specifically 
trained in handling flammable refrigerants service or dispose of 
refrigerators and freezers containing these refrigerants. Technicians 
must know how to minimize the risk of fire and the procedures for using 
flammable refrigerants safely. Releases of large quantities of 
refrigerant during servicing and manufacturing, especially in areas 
where large amounts of refrigerant are stored, could cause an explosion 
if an ignition source exists nearby. For these reasons, it is important 
that only properly trained technicians handle flammable refrigerants 
when servicing or disposing of household and retail food refrigerators 
and freezers.
    EPA is unaware of any existing industry-wide technician training 
program or standard that fully covers the safe use of flammable 
refrigerants. EPA has reviewed several training programs provided as 
part of SNAP submissions from persons interested in flammable 
refrigerants. EPA intends to update the CAA section 608 technician 
certification test bank provided to organizations that administer the 
certification exams in accordance with 40 CFR 82.161 to specifically 
address flammable refrigerants. EPA requests any information on an 
industry-wide flammable refrigerant training program, whether such a 
program is under development, the burden on the technicians to take an 
industry wide safety training, and the timeline likely needed to 
develop such a program in order to begin training a nation-wide fleet 
of technicians.

[[Page 25810]]

VII. What other options did EPA consider?

    EPA considered several different options in preparing this proposed 
rule. Although EPA is not proposing these options, which are discussed 
below, we seek comment on them.
    EPA considered allowing isobutane and propane as a refrigerant for 
use only in the original equipment manufacturers' (OEM) specific 
appliances, described in a SNAP application. The reason for such a 
limitation is the concern that equipment from other manufacturers would 
not be designed with spark-proof engineering as prescribed by the 
submitter, nor would the manufacturers be able to develop recovery 
equipment compatible with flammable refrigerants.
    Limiting use to SNAP reviewed equipment would be time consuming and 
costly for all parties involved. EPA would have to consider each 
refrigerator and freezer model for both household and retail 
separately. This would increase the burden on industry, with little 
added benefit for health and safety, since the engineering of such 
equipment and the requirements needed to meet a national safety 
standard are already rigorous. Although there is the potential that 
some OEMs might not develop proper equipment, EPA believes that the 
potential liability associated with selling equipment not designed to 
safely use these refrigerants should ensure that this does not occur. 
Therefore, EPA decided to not propose to limit use to equipment 
reviewed by EPA through the SNAP program.
    EPA also considered a specific use condition requiring ``spark 
proof'' circuits in the design of equipment using hydrocarbon 
refrigerants. EPA believes it would be unnecessary to further require 
``spark proof circuits'' as a use condition because UL 250 and UL 471 
already require strict standards, to prevent fire or explosion, which 
must be met in order to obtain certification. We believe that all OEMs 
will also take into account flammability risks when designing the 
appliance to meet the charge size requirement.
    EPA also considered proposing as a use condition that recovery 
equipment used to recapture these refrigerants must be able to handle 
flammable refrigerants. In accordance with CAA Section 608 regulations, 
refrigerant cannot be vented to the atmosphere and instead must be 
recaptured and recycled, reclaimed if possible, or disposed of in 
accordance with Federal and state regulations. For safety concerns, 
recovery equipment appropriate for flammable refrigerants will be 
needed. EPA seeks data on whether there currently is an industry 
standard for recovery units for flammable refrigerants and whether 
there are available specific recovery units that are compatible with 
isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1. At this time, EPA is 
unaware of any recovery units that are designed specifically for 
hydrocarbons and which are readily available in the U.S. EPA did not 
propose that recovery equipment used to recapture hydrocarbon 
refrigerants because this is better addressed under Section 608.
    Under Section 608 of the CAA, venting of hydrocarbons for household 
refrigerators and freezers and retail food refrigeration (stand-alone 
refrigerators and freezers) could be allowed if EPA determines that 
such venting, releasing, or disposing of such substance does not pose a 
threat to the environment. EPA is not proposing such a determination in 
this rule making, but requests comment on whether hydrocarbon 
refrigerants should be exempted from the Section 608 venting 
prohibition. As appropriate, EPA would address these issues in a 
separate
    EPA also considered other approaches such as:
     Requiring only one use condition for each refrigerant; to 
meet the UL 250 or 471 standards;
     Finding hydrocarbon refrigerants unacceptable until an 
industry-wide standard exists for servicing refrigerator using 
hydrocarbon refrigerant.
    EPA is taking comment on the above alternate approaches.

VIII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review

    Under Executive Order (EO) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), 
this action is a ``significant regulatory action.'' It raises novel 
legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's 
priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order. 
Accordingly, EPA submitted this action to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for review under EO 12866 and any changes made in response 
to OMB recommendations have been documented in the docket for this 
action.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden. 
This proposed rule is an Agency determination. It contains no new 
requirements for reporting. The only new recordkeeping requirement 
involves customary business practice. The Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) has previously approved the information collection 
requirements contained in the existing regulations in subpart G of 40 
CFR part 82 under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and has assigned OMB control number 2060-0226. This 
Information Collection Request (ICR) included five types of respondent 
reporting and recordkeeping activities pursuant to SNAP regulations: 
Submission of a SNAP petition, filing a SNAP/TSCA Addendum, 
notification for test marketing activity, recordkeeping for substitutes 
acceptable subject to use restrictions, and recordkeeping for small 
volume uses. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations are listed 
in 40 CFR part 9 and 48 CFR Chapter 15.C.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory 
flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment 
rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any 
other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions. For purposes of assessing the impacts of 
this rule on small entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small 
business as defined by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 
regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction 
that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or 
special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small 
organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.
    After considering the economic impacts of this proposed rule on 
small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
requirements of this proposed rule impact household and commercial 
refrigerator and freezer manufacturers. This rule indirectly affects 
users, technician testing organizations, and technicians. Today's 
action, if finalized, would allow users the additional options of using 
isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1. Because isobutane, 
propane, HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 refrigeration systems are not 
manufactured yet, no change in business practice would be required to 
meet the use conditions and thus the

[[Page 25811]]

rule would not impose any new costs on small entities if finalized as 
proposed. EPA continues to be interested in the potential impacts of 
the proposed rule on small entities and welcomes comments on issues 
related to such impacts.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of 
Title II of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 
1531-1538 for State, local, or tribal governments or the private 
sector. This action imposes no enforceable duty on any State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector.
    The enforceable requirements of this proposed rule related to 
integrating risk mitigation devices, markings, and procedures for 
maintaining safety of household refrigerators, freezers, and 
combination refrigerator and freezer systems using hydrocarbon 
refrigerants affect only a small number of manufacturers of household 
and commercial refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerator 
and freezers and their technicians. This proposal provides additional 
refrigerant options, allowing greater flexibility for industry in 
designing consumer products. Further, equipment using hydrocarbon 
refrigerants is not yet being produced in the U.S. therefore we do not 
expect impacts on existing users. Thus, this rule is not subject to the 
requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA. This action is also 
not subject to the requirements of section 203 of UMRA because it 
contains no regulatory requirements that might significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. This regulation applies directly to 
facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. 
The acceptability with use conditions of isobutane, propane, HCR-188C, 
and HCR-188C1 does not impact the private sector because manufacturers 
are not producing systems under the current regulation. This proposed 
rule does not mandate a switch to these substitutes; consequently, 
there is no direct economic impact on entities from this rulemaking.

E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have Federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as 
specified in Executive Order 13132. This regulation applies directly to 
facilities that use these substances and not to governmental entities. 
Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this action. In the 
spirit of Executive Order 13132, and consistent with EPA policy to 
promote communications between EPA and State and local governments, EPA 
specifically solicits comments on this proposed action from State and 
local officials.

F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). It will not have 
substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship 
between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. 
EPA specifically solicits additional comment on this proposed action 
from tribal officials.

G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health and Safety Risks

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, 
April 23, 1997) because it is not economically significant as defined 
in EO 12866, and because the Agency does not believe the environmental 
health or safety risks addressed by this action present a 
disproportionate risk to children. This proposed rule provides both 
regulatory restrictions and recommended guidelines based upon risk 
screens conducted in order to reduce risk of fire and explosion. The 
public is invited to submit comments or identify peer-reviewed studies 
and data that assess effects of early life exposure to the refrigerants 
addressed in this action.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not a ``significant energy action'' as defined in 
Executive Order 13211, (66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001)) because it is not 
likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy. Preliminary information indicates that 
these new systems may be more energy efficient than currently available 
systems in some climates. Further, we have concluded that this rule is 
not likely to have any adverse energy effects.

I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (``NTTAA''), Public Law 104-113, (15 U.S.C. 272 note) 
directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies. The NTTAA directs EPA to provide 
Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use 
available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    This proposed rule involves technical standards. EPA proposes to 
use the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards 250 and 471, which was 
revised to include requirements for safety and reliability for 
flammable refrigerants. This proposed rule regulates the safety and 
deployment of new substitutes for household and commercial 
refrigerators and freezers.
    EPA welcomes comment on this aspect of the proposed rulemaking and, 
specifically invites the public to identify potentially applicable 
voluntary consensus standards and to explain why such standards should 
be used in this regulation.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes 
Federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision 
directs Federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and 
permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission 
by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high 
and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, 
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income 
populations in the United States.
    EPA has determined that this proposed rule will not have 
disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental 
effects on minority or low-income populations because it increases the 
level of environmental protection for all affected populations without 
having any disproportionately high and adverse human health or 
environmental effects on any population, including any

[[Page 25812]]

minority or low-income population. This proposed rule would provide 
refrigerant substitutes that have no ODP and low GWP. The reduction in 
ODS and GWP emissions would assist in restoring the stratospheric ozone 
layer and provide climate benefits.

IX. References

    The documents below are referenced in the preamble. All documents 
are located in the Air Docket at the address listed in Section I.B.1 at 
the beginning of this document. Unless specified otherwise, all 
documents are available electronically through the Federal Docket 
Management System, Docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286. Numbers listed 
after the reference indicates the docket and item numbers.
ACGIH. 1991. Propane. In: Documentation of the threshold limit values 
and biological exposure indices. 6th ed. Cincinnati, OH: American 
Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, pp. 1286-1287.
ASHRAE. 2007. ``Standard 34-2007 (Supersedes ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-
2004) Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants.''
Braker W, Mossman AL. 1980. Matheson gas data book. 6th ed. Secaucus, 
NJ: Matheson Gas Products, pp. 615-623.
EPA 1994. Significant New Alternatives Policy Technical Background 
Document: Risk Screen on the Use of Substitutes for Class I Ozone-
Depleting Substances: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. Stratospheric 
Protection Division. March, 1994.
ICF, 2009. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12 in Household Refrigerators and Household 
Freezers--Substitute: Isobutane'', May 22, 2009.
ICF, 2009. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12, HCFC-22 and R502 in Retail Food Refrigeration--
Substitute: Propane'', May 26, 2009.
ICF, 2009. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program in the Household Refrigeration Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12 and HCFC-22 in Household Refrigerators, 
Household Freezers and Window AC Units--Substitute: HCR-188C'', July 
17, 2009.
ICF, 2009. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program in the Household Refrigeration Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12 and HCFC-22 in Household Refrigerators and 
Freezers- Substitute: HCR-188C1'', November 6, 2009
NIOSH. 1996. Propane: IDLH Documentation. August 1996. Accessed 17 
February 2009. Available online at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/74986.html.
OSHA. 2004. ``Safety and Health Topics: Isobutane.'' February 2004. 
Available online at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_247840.html.
Sheldon, L.S., et al. 1989. ``An Investigation of Infiltration and 
Indoor Air Quality.'' New York State Energy Research & Development 
Authority, Report 90-11.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Air pollution control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: April 29, 2010.
Lisa P. Jackson,
Administrator.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

    1. The authority citation for Part 82 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.

Subpart G--Significant New Alternatives Policy Program

    2. Subpart G is amended by adding Appendix R to read as follows:

Appendix R to Subpart G--Substitutes Subject To Use Restrictions and 
Unacceptable Substitutes

    Listed in the [publication date of final rule] final rule. 
Effective (date of effective date of the final rule).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.110 considers ventilation 
adequate ``when the concentration of the gas in a gas-air mixture 
does not exceed 25 percent of the lower flammable limit.''
    \13\ OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.110 considers ventilation 
adequate ``when the concentration of the gas in a gas-air mixture 
does not exceed 25 percent of the lower flammable limit.''

                                                Substitutes That Are Acceptable Subject To Use Conditions
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              End use                      Substitute               Decision                      Use conditions                  Further information
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Household refrigerators and          Isobutane, R-600a, as   Acceptable With Use     1. The quantity of the substitute        Technicians and equipment
 freezers and combination             a substitute for CFC-   Conditions.             refrigerant (i.e., ``charge size'')      manufactures should wear
 refrigerators and freezers.          12 and HCFC-22.                                 shall not exceed 57 grams (2.0 ounces)   appropriate personal
                                                                                      in any refrigerator, freezer, or         protective equipment,
                                                                                      combination refrigerator and freezers;   including chemical
                                                                                                                               goggles and protective
                                                                                                                               gloves when handling
                                                                                                                               isobutane, HCR-188C, and
                                                                                                                               HCR-188C1. Special care
                                                                                                                               should be taken to avoid
                                                                                                                               contact with the skin
                                                                                                                               since isobutane, HCR-
                                                                                                                               188C, and HCR-188C1 like
                                                                                                                               many refrigerants, can
                                                                                                                               cause freeze burns on the
                                                                                                                               skin.
New Only...........................  HCR-188C as a                                   2. These refrigerants may be used only    A class B dry
                                      substitute for CFC-12                           in new equipment designed specifically   powder type fire
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    and clearly identified for the           extinguisher should be
                                                                                      refrigerant (i.e., none of these         kept nearby.
                                                                                      substitutes may be used as a
                                                                                      conversion or ``retrofit'' refrigerant
                                                                                      for existing equipment);

[[Page 25813]]

 
                                     HCR-188C1 as a                                  3. These refrigerants may be used only    Proper
                                      substitute for CFC-12                           in refrigerators or freezers or          ventilation should be
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    combination refrigerator and freezers    maintained at all times
                                                                                      that meet all requirements listed in     during the manufacture of
                                                                                      the 10th edition of Underwriters         equipment containing
                                                                                      Laboratory (UL) Standard 250. In cases   hydrocarbon refrigerant
                                                                                      where the final rule includes            through adherence to good
                                                                                      requirements more stringent than those   manufacturing practices
                                                                                      of the 10th edition of UL Standard       as per 29 CFR
                                                                                      250, the appliance must meet the         1910.110.\12\ If
                                                                                      requirements of the final rule in        refrigerant levels in the
                                                                                      place of the requirements in the UL      air surrounding the
                                                                                      Standard;                                equipment rise above one-
                                                                                                                               fourth of the lower
                                                                                                                               flammability limit,\1\
                                                                                                                               the space should be
                                                                                                                               evacuated and re-entry
                                                                                                                               should only occur after
                                                                                                                               the space has been
                                                                                                                               properly ventilated.
                                                                                     4. The refrigerator, freezer, or          Technicians
                                                                                      combination refrigerator and freezer     should only use spark
                                                                                      must have red, Pantone Matching System   proof tools when working
                                                                                      (PMS) 185 marked pipes,         refrigerators and
                                                                                      hoses, or other devices through which    freezers with R-600a, HCR-
                                                                                      the refrigerant passes to indicate the   188C, and HCR-188C1.
                                                                                      use of a flammable refrigerant. This     Recovery
                                                                                      color must be applied at all service     equipment designed for
                                                                                      ports and where service puncturing or    flammable refrigerants
                                                                                      otherwise creating an opening from the   should be used.
                                                                                      refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere    Only technicians
                                                                                      might be expected and must extend a      specifically trained in
                                                                                      minimum of one (1) inch in both          handling flammable
                                                                                      directions from such locations;          refrigerants should
                                                                                                                               service refrigerators and
                                                                                                                               freezers containing these
                                                                                                                               refrigerants. Technicians
                                                                                                                               should gain an
                                                                                                                               understanding of
                                                                                                                               minimizing the risk of
                                                                                                                               fire and the steps to use
                                                                                                                               flammable refrigerants
                                                                                                                               safely.
                                                                                                                               In production
                                                                                                                               facilities or other
                                                                                                                               facilities where large
                                                                                                                               quantities of the
                                                                                                                               refrigerant would be
                                                                                                                               stored, proper safety
                                                                                                                               precautions should be in
                                                                                                                               place to minimize the
                                                                                                                               risk of explosion. These
                                                                                                                               facilities should be
                                                                                                                               equipped with proper
                                                                                                                               ventilation systems to
                                                                                                                               minimize the risks of
                                                                                                                               explosion and should be
                                                                                                                               properly designed and
                                                                                                                               operated to reduce
                                                                                                                               possible ignition
                                                                                                                               sources.
Household refrigerators and          Isobutane, R-600a, as   Acceptable With Use     5. Similar to clauses SA6.1.1 to          Room occupants
 freezers and combination             a substitute for CFC-   Conditions.             SA6.1.2 of UL standard 250, the          should evacuate the space
 refrigerators and freezers.          12 and HCFC-22.                                 following markings, or the equivalent,   immediately following the
                                                                                      shall be provided and shall be           accidental release of
                                                                                      permanent:                               this refrigerant.
New Only...........................  HCR-188C as a           ......................  (a) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or            ..........................
                                      substitute for CFC-12                           Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To
                                                                                      Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not Puncture
                                                                                      Refrigerant Tubing.''
                                                                                     (b) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or            ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                                                                      Do Not Use Mechanical Devices. To Be
                                                                                      Repaired Only By Trained Service
                                                                                      Personnel. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant
                                                                                      Tubing.''
                                     HCR-188C1 as a                                  (c) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                      substitute for CFC-12                           Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    Consult Repair Manual/Owner's Guide
                                                                                      Before Attempting To Service This
                                                                                      Product. All Safety Precautions Must
                                                                                      be Followed.''
                                                                                     (d) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Dispose of Properly In
                                                                                      Accordance With Federal Or Local
                                                                                      Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant
                                                                                      Used.''
                                                                                     (e) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion Due To Puncture Of
                                                                                      Refrigerant Tubing; Follow Handling
                                                                                      Instructions Carefully. Flammable
                                                                                      Refrigerant Used.''
                                                                                     The marking described in clause (a)      ..........................
                                                                                      above shall be provided on or near any
                                                                                      evaporators that can be contacted by
                                                                                      the consumer. The markings described
                                                                                      in clauses (b) and (c) above shall be
                                                                                      permanently attached near the machine
                                                                                      compartment. The markings described in
                                                                                      clause (d) above shall be permanently
                                                                                      attached on the exterior of the
                                                                                      refrigerator. The marking described in
                                                                                      clause (e) above shall be permanently
                                                                                      attached near any and all exposed
                                                                                      refrigerant tubing. All of these
                                                                                      markings shall be in letters no less
                                                                                      than 6.4 mm (\1/4\ inch) high.

[[Page 25814]]

 
Household refrigerators and          Isobutane, R-600a, as   Acceptable With Use     6. Household refrigerators, freezers,    ..........................
 freezers and combination             a substitute for CFC-   Conditions.             and combination refrigerator and
 refrigerators and freezers.          12 and HCFC-22.                                 freezers using these refrigerants must
                                                                                      have service aperture fittings that
                                                                                      are colored red as described above in
                                                                                      use condition number four and which
                                                                                      differ from fittings used in equipment
                                                                                      or containers using non-flammable
                                                                                      refrigerant. ``Differ'' means that
                                                                                      either the diameter must differ by at
                                                                                      least 1/16 inch or the thread
                                                                                      direction must be reversed (i.e.,
                                                                                      right handed vs. left handed). The
                                                                                      unique fittings must be permanently
                                                                                      affixed to the unit and may not be
                                                                                      accessed with an adaptor until the end-
                                                                                      of-life of the unit;
New Only...........................  HCR-188C as a                                                                            ..........................
                                      substitute for CFC-12
                                      and HCFC-22.
                                     HCR-188C1 as a                                  7. These refrigerants may not be sold    ..........................
                                      substitute for CFC-12                           for use as a refrigerant in containers
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    designed to contain less than five
                                                                                      pounds (2.8 kg) of refrigerant.
Retail Food Refrigeration (stand-    Propane, R-290, as a    Acceptable subject to   1. The charge size for the retail food   Technicians and equipment
 alone only).                         substitute for CFC-12   use conditions.         refrigerator or freezer using R-290      manufactures should wear
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    shall not exceed 150 grams (5.3          appropriate personal
                                                                                      ounces);                                 protective equipment,
                                                                                                                               including chemical
                                                                                                                               goggles and protective
                                                                                                                               gloves when handling
                                                                                                                               isobutane. Special care
                                                                                                                               should be taken to avoid
                                                                                                                               contact with the skin
                                                                                                                               since propane, like many
                                                                                                                               refrigerants, can cause
                                                                                                                               freeze burns on the skin.
New Only...........................                                                  2. This refrigerant may be used only in   A class B dry
                                                                                      new equipment specifically designed      powder type fire
                                                                                      and clearly identified for the           extinguisher should be
                                                                                      refrigerant;                             kept nearby.
                                                                                     3. This substitute may only be used in    Proper
                                                                                      equipment that meets all requirements    ventilation should be
                                                                                      in the 9th edition of UL Standard 471.   maintained at all times
                                                                                      In cases where the final rule includes   during the manufacture of
                                                                                      requirements more stringent than those   equipment containing
                                                                                      of the 9th edition of UL Standard 471,   hydrocarbon refrigerant
                                                                                      the appliance must meet the              through adherence to good
                                                                                      requirements of the final rule in        manufacturing practices
                                                                                      place of the requirements in the UL      as per 29 CFR
                                                                                      Standard;                                1910.110.\13\ If
                                                                                                                               refrigerant levels in the
                                                                                                                               air surrounding the
                                                                                                                               equipment rise above one-
                                                                                                                               fourth of the lower
                                                                                                                               flammability limit,\2\
                                                                                                                               the space should be
                                                                                                                               evacuated and re-entry
                                                                                                                               should only occur after
                                                                                                                               the space has been
                                                                                                                               properly ventilated.
                                                                                     4. The refrigerator or freezer must       Technicians
                                                                                      have red, Pantone Matching System        should only use spark
                                                                                      (PMS) 185 marked pipes,         proof tools when working
                                                                                      hoses, and other devices through which   refrigerators and
                                                                                      the refrigerant passes to indicate the   freezers with R-290.
                                                                                      use of a flammable refrigerant. This     Recovery
                                                                                      color must be applied at all service     equipment designed for
                                                                                      ports and where service puncturing or    flammable refrigerants
                                                                                      otherwise creating an opening from the   should be used.
                                                                                      refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere    Only technicians
                                                                                      might be expected, and must extend a     specifically trained in
                                                                                      minimum of one (1) inch in both          handling flammable
                                                                                      directions from such locations;          refrigerants should
                                                                                                                               service refrigerators and
                                                                                                                               freezers containing these
                                                                                                                               refrigerants. Technicians
                                                                                                                               should gain an
                                                                                                                               understanding of
                                                                                                                               minimizing the risk of
                                                                                                                               fire and the steps to use
                                                                                                                               flammable refrigerants
                                                                                                                               safely.
                                                                                                                               In production
                                                                                                                               facilities or other
                                                                                                                               facilities where large
                                                                                                                               quantities of the
                                                                                                                               refrigerant would be
                                                                                                                               stored, proper safety
                                                                                                                               precautions should be in
                                                                                                                               place to minimize the
                                                                                                                               risk of explosion. These
                                                                                                                               facilities should be
                                                                                                                               equipped with proper
                                                                                                                               ventilation systems to
                                                                                                                               minimize the risks of
                                                                                                                               explosion and should be
                                                                                                                               properly designed and
                                                                                                                               operated to reduce
                                                                                                                               possible ignition
                                                                                                                               sources.
Retail Food Refrigeration (stand-    Propane, R-290, as a    Acceptable subject to   5. Similar to clauses SB6.1.2 to          Room occupants
 alone only).                         substitute for CFC-12   use conditions.         SB6.1.5 of UL Standard 471, the          should evacuate the space
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    following markings, or the equivalent,   immediately following the
                                                                                      shall be provided and shall be           accidental release of
                                                                                      permanent:                               this refrigerant.
New Only...........................                                                  (a) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or            ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                                                                      Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To
                                                                                      Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not Puncture
                                                                                      Refrigerant Tubing.''
                                                                                     (b) ``DANGER--Risk of Fire or            ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                                                                      To Be Repaired Only By Trained Service
                                                                                      Personnel. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant
                                                                                      Tubing.''

[[Page 25815]]

 
                                                                                     (c) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used.
                                                                                      Consult Repair Manual/Owner's Guide
                                                                                      Before Attempting To Service This
                                                                                      Product. All Safety Precautions Must
                                                                                      be Followed.''
                                                                                     (d) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion. Dispose of Properly In
                                                                                      Accordance With Federal Or Local
                                                                                      Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant
                                                                                      Used.''
                                                                                     (e) ``CAUTION--Risk of Fire or           ..........................
                                                                                      Explosion Due To Puncture Of
                                                                                      Refrigerant Tubing; Follow Handling
                                                                                      Instructions Carefully. Flammable
                                                                                      Refrigerant Used.'' This marking shall
                                                                                      be provided near all exposed
                                                                                      refrigerant tubing.
                                                                                     The marking described in clause (a)      ..........................
                                                                                      above shall be permanently attached on
                                                                                      or near any evaporators that can be
                                                                                      contacted by the consumer. The
                                                                                      markings described in clauses (b) and
                                                                                      (c) above shall be located near the
                                                                                      machine compartment. The marking
                                                                                      described in clause (d) above shall be
                                                                                      permanently attached on the exterior
                                                                                      of the refrigerator. The marking
                                                                                      described in clause (e) above shall be
                                                                                      permanently attached near any and all
                                                                                      exposed refrigerant tubing. All of
                                                                                      these markings shall be in letters no
                                                                                      less than 6.4 mm (\1/4\ inch) high.
Retail Food Refrigeration (stand-    Propane, R-290, as a    Acceptable subject to   7. Retail food refrigeration using R-    ..........................
 alone only) New Only.                substitute for CFC-12   use conditions.         290 must have fittings colored red as
                                      and HCFC-22.                                    described above in use condition
                                                                                      number four and which differ from
                                                                                      fittings used in equipment or
                                                                                      containers using non-flammable
                                                                                      refrigerant. ``Differ'' means that
                                                                                      either the diameter must differ by at
                                                                                      least \1/16\ inch or the thread
                                                                                      direction must be reversed (i.e.,
                                                                                      right handed vs. left handed). The
                                                                                      unique fittings must be permanently
                                                                                      affixed to the unit, and may not be
                                                                                      accessed with an adaptor, until the
                                                                                      end-of-life of the unit;
                                                                                     8. R-290 may not be sold as a            ..........................
                                                                                      refrigerant in containers containing
                                                                                      less than five pounds (2.8 kg) of
                                                                                      refrigerant.
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Note: In accordance with the limitations provided in Section 310(a) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7610(a)), nothing in this table shall affect the
  Occupational Safety and Health Administrations' authority to promulgate and enforce standards and other requirements under the Occupational Safety and
  Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.)

[FR Doc. 2010-10959 Filed 5-7-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P