[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 244 (Tuesday, December 20, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 78832-78858]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32175]



[[Page 78832]]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286; FRL-9507-7]
RIN 2060-AP54


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

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s 
Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, this action lists 
isobutane (R-600a) and R-441A as acceptable, subject to use conditions, 
as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-12 and 
hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22 in household refrigerators, freezers, 
and combination refrigerators and freezers. This action also lists 
propane (R-290) as acceptable, subject to use conditions, as a 
substitute for CFC-12, HCFC-22, and R-502 in retail food refrigerators 
and freezers (stand-alone units only).

DATES: This final rule is effective on February 21, 2012. The 
incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule 
is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of February 21, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286. All documents in the docket are listed on the 
www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, i.e., confidential business 
information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted 
by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is 
not posted on the Web site and will be made publicly available only in 
hard copy form.
    Publicly available docket materials can be found either 
electronically in 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: Margaret Sheppard, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Mail Code 6205J, 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; telephone number (202) 343-9163; fax number (202) 
343-2338; email address: sheppard.margaret@epa.gov. Notices and 
rulemakings under EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) 
program are available 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. Which acronyms and abbreviations are used in the preamble?
II. How does the SNAP program work?
    A. What are the statutory requirements and authority for the 
SNAP program?
    B. What are EPA's regulations 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 did EPA propose, and what are we finalizing?
    A. Proposed Rule
    B. Final Rule
IV. What is the basis for EPA's final action?
    A. Environmental Impacts
    B. Flammability
    C. Asphyxiation
    D. Toxicity
V. What is EPA's response to comments on the May 2010 notice of 
proposed rulemaking?
    A. EPA's Acceptability Determination
    B. New Equipment Only; Not Intended for Use as a Retrofit 
Alternative
    C. Compliance With UL Standards
    D. Charge Size Limitation (Household Refrigeration)
    E. Charge Size Limitation (Retail Food Refrigeration)
    F. Labeling
    G. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping
    H. Unique Fittings
    I. Small Containers
    J. Use of Hydrocarbon Refrigerants in Other End-Uses
    K. Training
    L. Other Options Considered
    M. Other Comments on Proposed Rule
VI. What other changes is EPA making in the final rule?
    A. Propane as Substitute for R-502
    B. Wording of Use Conditions for Labeling
    C. ``Further Information'' Column in Listing Decisions
VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and 
Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review
    B. Paperwork Reduction Act
    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    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
    K. Congressional Review Act
VIII. References

I. General Information

A. Background

    This rule pertains to three hydrocarbon refrigerants: Isobutane, 
propane, and R-441A. Hydrocarbon refrigerants have been in use for over 
15 years in countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, 
and Japan in the end-uses addressed by this final rule. In Europe and 
Asia, equipment manufacturers have designed and tested household and 
commercial refrigerators and freezers to account for flammability and 
safety concerns associated with hydrocarbon refrigerants.
    The 2010 Report of the United Nations Environment Programme 
(UNEP)'s Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps Technical 
Options Committee (RTOC) estimates that approximately 100 million 
household refrigerators and freezers are manufactured annually 
worldwide. One-third of these now use either isobutane or an isobutane/
propane blend, and this proportion is expected to increase to 75 
percent by 2020. In the retail sector, the RTOC observes that 
hydrocarbon refrigerants continue to gain market share in Europe and 
Japan.\1\
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    \1\ RTOC, 2010, pp. 50, 51, 64.
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    Because hydrocarbon refrigerants have zero ozone depletion 
potential (ODP) and very low global warming potential (GWP) compared to 
other refrigerants, many companies are interested in using them in the 
United States (U.S.) as well. In this action, EPA addresses SNAP 
submissions for use of three hydrocarbon refrigerants in two end-uses: 
(1) Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators 
and freezers; and (2) retail food refrigerators and freezers (stand-
alone units only).
    The submitter of R-441A--A.S. Trust and Holdings--has provided 
documentation to EPA, available in the docket for this rulemaking, that 
it has withdrawn its submission for the blend originally submitted as 
``HCR-188C.'' Because the submission is no longer pending before EPA, 
we are not

[[Page 78833]]

finalizing a SNAP listing for that blend. Any person wishing to 
introduce that blend into interstate commerce would be required to 
submit a new SNAP application under EPA regulations.\2\
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    \2\ The submitter has informed EPA that that it is now marketing 
R-441A (the blend originally submitted as ``HCR-188C1'') under the 
trade name ``HCR-188C.''
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1. What are isobutane, propane, and R-441A?
    Isobutane and propane are hydrocarbons, and R-441A is a blend of 
hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are flammable organic compounds made up of 
hydrogen and carbon.
    Isobutane, also called 2-methylpropane, has four carbon atoms, the 
chemical formula C4H10, and a branched structure. 
It is often written as CH(CH3)2-CH3 to 
distinguish it from butane, a straight-chain hydrocarbon with the same 
chemical formula. Isobutane's Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry 
Number is 75-28-5. As a refrigerant, isobutane is designated as R-600a 
by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning 
Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 34-2010 ``Designation and Safety 
Classification of Refrigerants'' (ASHRAE, 2010). It is also referred to 
as HC-600a and iso-C4H10.
    Propane has three carbon atoms, the chemical formula 
C3H8, and the CAS Number 74-98-6. As a 
refrigerant, propane has ASHRAE designation R-290. It is also referred 
to as HC-290 and CH3CH2CH3.
    R-441A is a blend of four hydrocarbons: Ethane (3.1 percent by 
mass), propane (54.8 percent by mass), isobutane (6.0 percent by mass), 
and butane (36.1 percent by mass). This blend was originally submitted 
to EPA under the trade name ``HCR-188C1,'' and EPA used that 
nomenclature in the proposed rule (75 FR 25799). In February 2011, this 
blend received the designation R-441A under ASHRAE Standard 34-2010.\3\ 
Throughout this final rule, we refer to that blend as R-441A.
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    \3\ See Addendum g to Standard 34-2010.
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    ASHRAE Standard 34-2010 categorizes isobutane, propane, and R-441A 
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.
    Figure 1 illustrates these safety group classifications.
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR20DE11.000
    
    ASHRAE classifies Class A refrigerants as refrigerants for which 
toxicity has not been identified at concentrations less than 400 ppm by 
volume, based on data used to determine a workplace exposure limit for 
long-term exposure, such as a threshold limit value-time-weighted 
average (TLV-TWA) or consistent indices. Class B refrigerants show 
evidence of toxicity below 400 ppm on an 8-hour time-weighted average 
(TWA).
    Refrigerants also receive one of three possible flammability 
classifications: 1 (no flame propagation), 2 (lower flammability), or 3 
(higher flammability). Class 3 refrigerants exhibit flame propagation 
at 60 [deg]C and 101.3 kPa, and have either a lower flammability limit 
(LFL) of less than or equal to 0.10 kg/m\3\ or a heat of combustion 
greater than or equal to 19,000 kJ/kg.
2. Which end-uses are covered in our final decision?
a. Household Refrigerators, Freezers, and Combination Refrigerators and 
Freezers
    This end-use, which we refer to as ``household refrigeration'' in 
this preamble, consists of appliances that are intended primarily for 
residential use, although they may be used outside the home. Household 
freezers offer storage space only at freezing temperatures. Products 
with both a refrigerator and freezer in a single unit are most common. 
This final rule includes a use condition that limits the refrigerant 
charge in this end-use to 57 grams (2.0 ounces) or less for each sealed 
refrigeration system (i.e., compressor, condenser, evaporator, and 
refrigerant piping). EPA is also requiring other use conditions as 
described in Section III (``What did EPA propose, and what are we 
finalizing?'') below.
b. Retail Food Refrigerators and Freezers (Stand-Alone Units Only)
    This end-use, which we refer to as ``retail food refrigeration'' in 
this preamble, includes the refrigeration systems, including cold 
storage cases, designed to chill food or keep it at a cold temperature 
for commercial sale. This final rule addresses the use of hydrocarbons 
in stand-alone units only.

[[Page 78834]]

A stand-alone appliance is one using a hermetically-sealed compressor 
and for which all refrigerant-containing components, including but not 
limited to at least one compressor, condenser, and evaporator, are 
assembled into a single piece of equipment before delivery to the 
ultimate consumer or user. Such equipment does not require addition or 
removal of refrigerant when placed into initial operation. Stand-alone 
equipment is used to store chilled beverages or frozen products. 
Examples include reach-in beverage coolers and stand-alone ice cream 
cabinets. Our acceptability determination does not apply to large 
refrigeration systems such as walk-in coolers or the direct expansion 
refrigeration systems typically found in retail food stores. It also 
does not apply to vending machines.
    This final rule includes a use condition that limits the 
refrigerant charge in this end-use to 150 grams (5.3 ounces) or less. 
EPA is also requiring other use conditions as described in Section III 
(``What Did EPA Propose, and What are we finalizing?'') below.

B. Does this action apply to me?

    This final rule lists the use of three alternative refrigerants in 
two end-uses: Household refrigerators, freezers, and combination 
refrigerators and freezers; and retail food refrigerators and freezers 
(stand-alone units only). Potentially regulated entities that may use 
isobutane (R-600a) or R-441A in household refrigeration or propane (R-
290) in retail food refrigeration include:

  Table 1--Potentially Regulated Entities, by North American Industrial
             Classification System (NAICS) Code or Subsector
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             NAICS code  or    Description of regulated
         Category               subsector              entities
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Industry..................            333415  Manufacturers 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.
Industry..................            811412  Appliance Repair and
                                               Maintenance.
Industry..................            423620  Electrical and Electronic
                                               Appliance, Television,
                                               and Radio Set Merchant
                                               Wholesalers.
Industry..................            423740  Refrigeration Equipment
                                               and Supplies Merchant
                                               Wholesalers.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather functions 
as a guide regarding entities that are 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. Which acronyms and abbreviations are used in the preamble?

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

AEGL--Acute Exposure Guideline Level
ASHRAE--American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-
Conditioning Engineers
ANSI--American National Standards Institute
CAA--Clean Air Act
CAS--Chemical Abstracts Service
CBI--confidential business information
CFC--chlorofluorocarbon
CFR--Code of Federal Regulations
CO2--carbon dioxide
EPA--United States Environmental Protection Agency
FR--Federal Register
FTA--Fault-Tree Analysis
GHG--greenhouse gas
GWP--global warming potential
HC--hydrocarbon
HCFC--hydrochlorofluorocarbon
HFC--hydrofluorocarbon
ICF--ICF International, Inc.
ICR--information collection request
IEC--International Electrotechnical Commission
kg--kilogram
LFL--lower flammability limit
NAICS--North American Industrial Classification System
NARA--National Archives and Records Administration
NOAEL--no observable adverse effect level
NPRM--notice of proposed rulemaking
NTTAA--National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
OEM--original equipment manufacturer
ODP--ozone depletion potential
ODS--ozone-depleting substance
OMB--United States Office of Management and Budget
OSHA--United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PMS--Pantone[supreg] Matching System
ppm--parts per million
RFA--Regulatory Flexibility Act
RfC--reference concentration
RTOC--Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps Technical 
Options Committee
SNAP--Significant New Alternatives Policy
TEAP--Technology and Economic Assessment Panel
TLV--Threshold Limit Value
TSCA--Toxic Substances Control Act
TUV--Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein (German Technical Inspection 
Agency)
TWA--time-weighted average
UL--Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
UMRA--Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
UNEP--United Nations Environment Programme
VOC--volatile organic compound
WGL--workplace guidance level
WMO--World Meteorological Organization

II. How does the 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 substance (i.e., chlorofluorocarbon, halon, 
carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, methyl bromide, and 
hydrobromofluorocarbon) or class II substance (i.e., 
hydrochlorofluorocarbon) 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

[[Page 78835]]

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 substitutes 
that are ``unacceptable,'' ``acceptable subject to use conditions,'' 
and ``acceptable subject to narrowed use limits'' are in subpart G of 
40 CFR part 82.
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 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 (subpart G of 40 CFR 
part 82). These sectors--refrigeration and air conditioning; foam 
blowing; cleaning solvents; fire suppression and explosion protection; 
sterilants; aerosols; adhesives, coatings and inks; and tobacco 
expansion--are 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 present a significantly greater risk to human 
health and the environment than 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 to replace a class I substance or class II substance in one 
of the eight major industrial use sectors must provide notice to the 
Agency, including health and safety information 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 
persons planning to introduce the substitute into interstate 
commerce,\4\ which typically are chemical manufacturers but may include 
importers, formulators, equipment manufacturers, and end-users.\5\ The 
regulations identify certain narrow exemptions from the notification 
requirement, such as research and development and test marketing (40 
CFR 82.176(b)(4) and (5), respectively).
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    \4\ 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.
    \5\ As defined at 40 CFR 82.172, ``end-use'' means processes or 
classes of specific applications within major industrial sectors 
where a substitute is used to replace an ODS.
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    The Agency has identified four possible decision categories for 
substitutes that are submitted for evaluation: Acceptable; acceptable 
subject to use conditions; acceptable subject to narrowed use limits; 
and unacceptable (40 CFR 82.180(b)). Use conditions and narrowed use 
limits are both considered ``use restrictions'' and are explained in 
the paragraphs 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 in the sector.
    After reviewing a substitute, the Agency may determine 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 EPA's SNAP 
regulations.
    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. EPA describes these substitutes as ``acceptable 
subject to narrowed use limits.'' The Agency requires the user of a 
narrowed-use substitute to demonstrate that no other acceptable 
substitutes are available for the specific application by conducting 
comprehensive studies. 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 is using the substitute in 
an unacceptable manner and is in violation of section 612 of the CAA 
and EPA's SNAP regulations.
    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 substitutes deemed unacceptable, as proposed 
rulemakings to provide the public with an opportunity to comment, 
before publishing final decisions.
    In contrast, EPA publishes decisions concerning substitutes that 
are deemed acceptable with no restrictions in ``notices of 
acceptability,'' rather than as proposed and final rules. As described 
in the March 18, 1994, rule initially implementing the SNAP program, 
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 (e.g., worker protection regulations promulgated by 
the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)). 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

[[Page 78836]]

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 
already been identified in existing industry and/or building codes or 
standards. Thus many of the statements, 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 Layer Protection 
Web site at: 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 March 18, 1994, SNAP final 
rulemaking (59 FR 13044), codified at 40 CFR part 82, subpart G. A 
complete chronology of SNAP decisions and the appropriate citations is 
found at: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/chron.html.

III. What did EPA propose, and what are we finalizing?

A. Proposed Rule

    On May 10, 2010, EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (75 
FR 25799) to list isobutane (R-600a) and the hydrocarbon blends HCR-
188C and HCR-188C1 as ``acceptable, subject to use conditions,'' as 
substitutes for chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbon 
(HCFC)-22 \6\ in household refrigerators, freezers, and combination 
refrigerators and freezers.\7\ (This preamble refers to HCR-188C1 as R-
441A.)
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    \6\ CFC-12 is also referred to as R-12, 
CCl2F2 and dichlorodifluoromethane. HCFC-22 is 
also referred to as R-22, CHClF2, chlorodifluoromethane, 
and difluorochloromethane.
    \7\ HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 submissions included window air 
conditioners as an end-use. EPA is acting on this end-use in a 
separate rulemaking. As discussed previously, ``HCR-188C'' is the 
name of a blend that has been withdrawn from review for the 
household food refrigeration end-use.
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    EPA also proposed to list propane (R-290) as ``acceptable, subject 
to use conditions,'' as a substitute for CFC-12, HCFC-22, and R-502 \8\ 
in retail food refrigerators and freezers (stand-alone units only).
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    \8\ R-502 is a blend of CFC-115 (51.2% by weight) and HCFC-22 
(48.8%). CFC-115 is also referred to as R-115, 
C2ClF5, chloropentafluoroethane, and 
pentafluorochloroethane.
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    For each substitute, EPA proposed the following use conditions:
    (1) 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).
    (2) These refrigerants may be used only in refrigerators or 
freezers that meet all requirements listed in the 10th edition of 
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard UL 250 (household refrigeration 
end-use) or the 9th edition (sic) of Standard UL 471 (retail food 
refrigeration end-use).
    (3) The quantity of the substitute refrigerant (i.e., ``charge 
size'') in a refrigerator or freezer shall not exceed 57 grams (2.0 
ounces) in the household refrigeration end-use or 150 grams (5.3 
ounces) in the retail food refrigeration end-use.
    (4) Similar to clauses SA6.1.1 to SA6.1.2 of UL 250 and SB6.1.2 to 
SB6.1.5 of UL 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 Use 
Mechanical Devices. 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 
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.
    (5) The refrigerator or freezer must have red, Pantone[supreg] 
Matching System (PMS) 185 marked pipes, hoses, or other 
devices through which the refrigerant passes, typically known as the 
service port, to indicate the use of a flammable refrigerant. This 
color must be applied at all service ports and parts of the unit where 
service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the 
refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected, and must 
extend a minimum of 1 inch in both directions from such locations.
    (6) The refrigerator or freezer must have service aperture fittings 
that 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. 
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.
    (7) These refrigerants may not be sold for use as a refrigerant in 
containers designed to contain less than 5 pounds (2.3 kg) \9\ of 
refrigerant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ The proposed rule inadvertently represented 5 pounds as 2.8 
kilograms instead of 2.3 kg, which is accurate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed rule also included several recommendations classified 
as ``Further Information.'' These addressed personal protective 
equipment, proximity to a Class B dry powder-type fire extinguisher, 
proper ventilation, use of spark-proof tools, recovery equipment, 
training, refrigerant storage, and evacuation.
    Finally, in the proposed rule, EPA sought information and comment 
on several other issues:
     The availability of industry-wide training on flammable 
refrigerants for refrigerant technicians;
     Whether EPA should limit the use of hydrocarbon 
refrigerants only for use in the original equipment manufacturers' 
(OEMs') specific appliances, as described in the application;
     Whether the use conditions should require ``spark-proof'' 
circuits in the design of equipment using hydrocarbon refrigerants;
     The availability in the U.S. of recovery units that are 
designed specifically for hydrocarbons;
     Whether EPA should, in a future rulemaking, consider an 
exemption for hydrocarbon refrigerants from the venting prohibition 
under section 608 of the Clean Air Act;
     Whether EPA should require only one condition for each 
refrigerant: to meet the UL 250 or 471 standards; and

[[Page 78837]]

     Whether EPA should find hydrocarbon refrigerants 
unacceptable until an industry-wide standard exists for servicing 
refrigerators and freezers using hydrocarbon refrigerants.

B. Final Rule

    After considering the comments received on the proposed rule, EPA 
is finalizing a listing for hydrocarbon refrigerants in the household 
refrigeration and retail food refrigeration end-uses.
    EPA is taking action on the specific refrigerant/end-use 
combinations described in the proposed rule. We are: (1) Finding 
isobutane acceptable, subject to use conditions, in the household 
refrigeration end-use; (2) finding propane acceptable, subject to use 
conditions, in the retail food refrigeration end-use; and (3) finding 
R-441A (submitted as ``HCR-188C1,'' as discussed in Section I.A.1 
above) acceptable, subject to use conditions, in the household 
refrigeration end-use. As discussed above, the submitter has withdrawn 
its application for the blend submitted as ``HCR-188C,'' and because 
that submission is no longer pending before the Agency, EPA is not 
finalizing a SNAP listing for that blend. The submitter has informed 
EPA that it is now marketing R-441A (the blend originally submitted as 
``HCR-188C1'') under the trade name ``HCR-188C.''
    For each of the listing decisions finalized in this action, we are 
establishing the following use conditions after considering comments on 
the proposed rule:
    (1) EPA is finalizing the proposed requirement that these 
refrigerants 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 that is designed for other refrigerants). See Section V.B of 
this preamble (``New Equipment Only; Not Intended for Use as a Retrofit 
Alternative'').
    (2) EPA is finalizing the proposed requirement that these 
refrigerants be used only in refrigerators or freezers that meet all 
requirements listed in Supplement SA to UL 250 (household refrigeration 
end-use) or Supplement SB to UL 471 (retail food refrigeration end-
use). We clarify that the intent of this use condition is to require 
compliance with the provisions specifically for use with flammable 
refrigerants found in those supplements, rather than requiring 
compliance with other material in UL 250 and UL 471 that is not 
specific to use with flammable refrigerants. See Section V.C 
(``Compliance with UL Standards'').
    (3) EPA is finalizing the proposed requirement for 57-gram and 150-
gram charge size limitations for the household refrigeration and retail 
food refrigeration end-uses, respectively. We are also clarifying that 
the charge size limitations apply to each refrigerant circuit in a 
refrigerator or freezer, not necessarily the entire appliance. See 
Sections V.D (``Charge Size Limitation (Household Refrigeration)'') and 
V.E (``Charge Size Limitation (Retail Food Refrigeration)'').
    (4) EPA is finalizing the marking (labeling) requirements as 
proposed, as discussed in Section V.F (``Labeling''), with two minor 
exceptions discussed in Section VI (``What Other Changes Is EPA Making 
in the Final Rule?''). First, we are correcting the wording of the 
label located at the machine compartment; second, we are clarifying the 
language of the requirement to more clearly link each label with its 
wording and location.
    (5) EPA is finalizing the proposed requirement that the 
refrigerator or freezer have red PMS 185-marked pipes, hoses, 
or other devices through which the refrigerant passes. We are narrowing 
the applicability of this requirement by clarifying that the color must 
be present at all locations through which the refrigerant is serviced, 
and where service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the 
refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected (e.g., process 
tubes), instead of all locations where the refrigerant passes. In 
addition, we are clarifying that the red coloring must be in place at 
all times and must be replaced if removed. See Section V.G (``Color-
Coded Hoses and Piping'').
    (6) Based on the comments received, EPA is not finalizing the 
proposed requirement for unique fittings at service apertures. Instead 
we are providing this as a recommendation in the ``Further 
Information'' column of Appendix R. See Section V.H (``Unique 
Fittings'').
    (7) Based on the comments received, EPA is not finalizing the 
proposed requirement prohibiting the sale of hydrocarbon refrigerants 
in containers designed to contain less than 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of 
refrigerant. See Section V.I (``Small Containers'').
    EPA is also making two other changes to the wording of the use 
conditions and ``Further Information'' provisions in Appendix R. First, 
we are clarifying that R-502 is one of the refrigerants for which 
propane is listed as a substitute in the retail food refrigeration end-
use. Second, we are including in the ``Further Information'' column a 
cross-reference to relevant OSHA regulations.

IV. What is the basis for EPA's final action?

    To determine whether these three substitutes present risks that are 
lower than or comparable to risks from other substitutes that are 
currently or potentially available in the end-uses under consideration, 
we examined the criteria in 40 CFR 82.180(a)(7), focusing in particular 
on the following areas of concern: Impacts on stratospheric ozone and 
climate; volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions; flammability; 
asphyxiation risks for consumers and end-users; and toxicity risks to 
workers, consumers, and the general population.
    In support of the proposed rule, in 2009, EPA performed a risk 
screen analysis for each of the substitutes for the end-use proposed 
for listing: Isobutane in household refrigeration (ICF, 2009a), propane 
in retail food refrigeration (ICF, 2009b), HCR-188C in household 
refrigeration (ICF, 2009c), and HCR-188C1 (R-441A) in household 
refrigeration (ICF, 2009d). In developing this final rule, EPA reviewed 
these risk screens and made minor changes for greater consistency and 
clarity, but made no substantive changes to the assumptions or to the 
quantitative risk calculations. (EPA did not revise the risk screen for 
HCR-188C, since the manufacturer withdrew the application for that 
refrigerant, and EPA is not finalizing an acceptability determination 
for the refrigerant.) The 2009 risk screens and the 2011 revisions 
(ICF, 2011a; ICF, 2011b; ICF, 2011c) are included in the docket for 
this rulemaking.
    Based on the information provided in the risk screens, EPA has 
concluded that the overall environmental risk posed by each of the 
three substitutes is lower than or comparable to the environmental 
risks posed by other substitutes in the reviewed end-uses. With respect 
to public health risks, EPA has concluded that 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 flammability risks. Therefore, 
EPA is finalizing use conditions to ensure that the overall risks to 
human health and the environment posed by these substitutes are lower 
than or comparable to the overall risk posed by other substitutes in 
the same end-use.

[[Page 78838]]

A. Environmental Impacts

    EPA has concluded that, overall, the environmental risk posed by 
each of the three reviewed substitutes is lower than or comparable to 
the environmental risk posed by other substitutes in the reviewed end-
uses. All three substitutes have zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) 
and very low global warming potential (GWP) compared to other 
refrigerants. Although the substitutes are VOCs, the emissions from the 
specific uses being found acceptable subject to use conditions would 
not significantly affect local air quality. Thus the environmental 
risks associated with ODP, GWP, and VOC effects for each reviewed 
substitute are lower than or comparable to other acceptable 
substitutes. These risks are discussed below.
    A chemical's ODP is the ratio of its impact on stratospheric ozone 
compared to the impact of an identical mass of CFC-11.\10\ The ODP of 
CFC-11 is defined as 1.0. Other CFCs and HCFCs have ODPs ranging from 
0.01 to 1.0 (WMO, 2011). The ODP of HCFC-22 is 0.055, and the ODP of R-
502 is 0.334. The three substitutes discussed in this rule have an ODP 
of zero, as do other common substitutes in the same end-uses, such as 
HFC-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ CFC-11, CAS registry No. 75-69-4, is also referred to as R-
11, CCl3F and trichlorofluoromethane.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The GWP of a greenhouse gas (GHG) quantifies its potential 
integrated climate forcing relative to carbon dioxide (CO2) 
over a specified time horizon. The 100-year integrated GWPs of 
isobutane, propane, and R-441A are estimated to be 8 (GE, 2008), 3 (Ben 
and Jerry's, 2008), and less than 5 (A.S. Trust & Holdings, 2009),\11\ 
respectively, relative to a value of 1.0 for CO2. 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, 2011) and are significantly lower 
than those of other acceptable refrigerants in these end-uses (e.g., 
GWPs of HFC-134a, R-404A, and R-410A are approximately 1,430, 3,920, 
and 2,090, respectively).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ The submission for HCR-188C1, now known as R-441A, reported 
that the GWP of the substitute is ``negligible or essentially 
zero.'' Because the main components of R-441A are the same as the 
main components of the HCR-188C formulation originally submitted, 
the GWP of R-441A is expected to be similar to that reported for the 
original formulation by A.S. Trust & Holdings, Inc. (2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The overall climate impacts from the use of these refrigerants are 
also dependent upon the energy use by the appliances in which they are 
used, because the indirect climate impacts associated with electricity 
consumption typically exceed those from the refrigerants themselves 
over the full life cycle of refrigerant-containing products (ORNL, 
1997). A hydrocarbon appliance that is more energy-efficient than the 
appliance it replaces would result in GHG emission reductions beyond 
those attributable to the substitute refrigerant alone. Conversely, the 
GHG benefits of a substitute refrigerant in a replacement hydrocarbon 
appliance would be offset if that appliance had lower energy efficiency 
than the appliance it replaces. EPA was unable to find any detailed 
life-cycle analysis addressing GHG emissions associated with 
substituting traditional ODS refrigerants with hydrocarbons. 
Information in the submissions indicates that energy efficiency of 
these refrigerants is likely to be comparable to or higher than that of 
ODS refrigerants and of HFC refrigerants sometimes used (e.g., HFC-
134a) (Ben & Jerry's, 2008; A.S. Trust & Holdings, 2007, 2009; GE, 
2008). In the 2010 Assessment Report of the Technology and Economic 
Assessment Panel, UNEP's Technology and Economic Assessment Panel 
(TEAP) discusses the energy efficiency of hydrocarbons compared to that 
of HFC-134a:

    When GWP of HFC-134a is considered prohibitive in relation to 
HFC emissions (country regulation or company policy), hydrocarbon 
refrigerants (isobutane and propane, i.e. HC-600a and HC-290) or 
CO2 (R-744) are the current alternative solutions, 
presenting in most of the cases the same technical reliability and 
energy performance as HFC-134a. [p. 60]

    Hydrocarbons are regulated as VOCs under sections of the CAA that 
address 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)). EPA's 1994 risk 
screen document (EPA, 1994) describes the potential emissions of VOCs 
from all substitutes for all end-uses in the refrigeration and air-
conditioning sector as likely to be insignificant relative to VOCs from 
all other sources (i.e., other industries, mobile sources, and biogenic 
sources). Analysis performed for this rulemaking indicates that in the 
extremely unlikely event that all appliances manufactured by each 
submitter in these two end-uses were to leak their entire charge over 
the course of a year, the resulting increase in annual VOC emissions 
from each substitute as a percent of all annual VOC emissions in the 
U.S. would be negligible.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ As a percent of annual VOC emissions in the U.S., this 
represents approximately 5 x 10-6 percent (for isobutane 
in the household food refrigeration end-use) (ICF, 2009a and ICF, 
2011a), 5 x 10-6 percent (for propane in the retail food 
refrigeration end-use) (ICF, 2009b and ICF, 2011b), and 3 x 
10-7 percent (for R-441A in the household food 
refrigeration end-use) (ICF, 2009d and ICF, 2011c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Therefore, the use of these hydrocarbons in the household 
refrigeration and retail food refrigeration end-uses is sufficiently 
small that a switch from an ODS or from an HFC refrigerant would not 
have a noticeable impact on local air quality. International experts 
came to a similar conclusion in Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the 
Global Climate System: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on 
Climate Change (IPCC/TEAP, 2005).
    Similarly, EPA expects that additional releases of hydrocarbons 
into the environment from use as refrigerant will have an insignificant 
impact on ecosystem risks. Because hydrocarbons are volatile and break 
down quickly in the atmosphere into naturally-occurring compounds such 
as carbon dioxide, EPA would not expect there to be any significant 
amount of deposition that might adversely affect aquatic or terrestrial 
ecosystems.

B. Flammability

    Because they are flammable, isobutane, propane, and R-441A could 
pose a significant safety hazard for workers and consumers if handled 
incorrectly. Isobutane, propane, and R-441A have lower flammability 
limits (LFLs) \13\ of 18,000 ppm, 21,000 ppm, and 16,000 ppm, 
respectively. The ODS for which these refrigerants are substitutes--
CFC-12, HCFC-22, and R-502--and other substitutes available in this 
end-use are not flammable. When the concentration of a flammable 
refrigerant reaches or exceeds its LFL in the presence of an ignition 
source (e.g., a static electricity spark resulting from closing a door, 
use of a torch during servicing, or a short circuit in wiring that 
controls the motor of a compressor), an explosion or fire could occur.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ LFL is the minimum concentration in air at which flame 
propagation occurs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Flammability risks are of particular concern because household 
refrigeration appliances and retail food refrigeration appliances in 
the United States traditionally have used refrigerants that are not 
flammable. Without mitigation, the risks posed by flammable 
refrigerants would be higher than those posed by non-flammable 
refrigerants because individuals may not be aware that their actions 
could cause a fire, and

[[Page 78839]]

existing appliances have not been designed specifically to minimize 
flammability risks.
    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 these refrigerants will reach 
their LFLs. Production facilities, and other facilities where large 
quantities of the refrigerant are stored, should have proper safety 
precautions in place to minimize the risk of explosion. EPA recommends 
that these facilities be equipped with proper ventilation systems to 
minimize the risks of explosion and be designed to reduce risks from 
possible ignition sources.
    To determine whether the three hydrocarbon refrigerants would 
present flammability concerns for service and manufacture personnel or 
for consumers, EPA reviewed the submitters' detailed assessments of the 
probability of events that might create a fire, as well as engineering 
approaches to avoid sparking from the refrigeration equipment. EPA also 
conducted risk screens, available in the docket for this rulemaking, 
evaluating reasonable worst-case scenarios to model the effects of the 
sudden release of the refrigerants. The worst-case scenario analysis 
for each of the three hydrocarbons revealed that even if the unit's 
full charge were emitted within one minute, the concentration would not 
reach the LFL for that hydrocarbon.
    However, since hydrocarbon refrigerants are flammable, and 
manufacture personnel, service personnel, and consumers in the U.S. may 
not be widely familiar with refrigeration appliances containing 
flammable refrigerants, use conditions are necessary to create 
awareness of the presence of a flammable refrigerant and ensure safe 
handling. For this reason, this final rule includes use conditions in 
order to ensure that these substitutes present aggregate risks that are 
lower than or comparable to those of other substitutes that are 
currently or potentially available. This final rule also lists 
recommendations such as proper ventilation and storage practices, and 
use of appropriate tools and recovery equipment, to mitigate safety 
risks for manufacture and servicing personnel.

C. Asphyxiation

    In evaluating potential human health impacts of isobutane, propane, 
and R-441A, EPA considered the risk of asphyxiation to workers (store 
employees and technicians) and consumers. The Agency evaluated a worst-
case scenario that did not consider likely mitigating exposure 
conditions such as open doors or windows, fans, conditioned airflow, or 
infiltration between a door and its door frame. EPA calculated the 
maximum charge of each refrigerant that would result in a reduction of 
oxygen levels to 12 percent in air, which is the no observable adverse 
effect level (NOAEL) for hypoxia (ICF, 1997). Specifically, under the 
worst-case conditions evaluated, the charge sizes necessary to reduce 
the oxygen level in air to the 12-percent NOAEL in the household 
refrigeration end-use would be 625 grams and 535 grams (for isobutane 
and R-441A, respectively), which is much larger than the 57-gram charge 
size limitation required in the use conditions in this rule (ICF, 2011a 
and 2011c). Likewise, the charge size necessary to achieve the NOAEL in 
the retail food refrigeration end-use would be 904 grams for propane, 
which is six times greater than the 150-gram charge size limitations in 
this rule (ICF, 2011b). This risk is lower than or comparable to that 
of other available substitutes in these end-uses.

D. Toxicity

    EPA evaluated the toxicity impacts of the three refrigerants to 
workers and consumers for the household refrigeration and retail food 
refrigeration end-uses. The Agency estimated the maximum time-weighted 
average (TWA) \14\ exposures for the hydrocarbons under different 
exposure scenarios and compared them to relevant industry and 
government exposure limits for each of the three hydrocarbons 
(including potential impurities in the substitutes). The risk screens, 
provided in the docket, describe the toxicity impact assessments in 
more detail (ICF, 2009a; ICF, 2009b; ICF, 2009d; ICF, 2011a, ICF, 
2011b, ICF, 2011c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Time-weighted average (TWA) = The average concentration of 
a specific substance in air over a specified time period--e.g., 
during the course of an 8-hour work day.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To assess occupational exposure for the household refrigeration and 
retail food refrigeration end-uses, EPA estimated the number of 
refrigerant releases during appliance manufacture and disposal and the 
refrigerant amounts released per event. For each refrigerant, EPA used 
those estimates to calculate the maximum 8-hour TWA exposure, which we 
then compared to the corresponding workplace guidance level (WGL). EPA 
found that occupational exposures to these hydrocarbons should not pose 
a toxicity threat in either end-use because the TWAs were well below 
the industry and government exposure limits.
    To assess consumer and end-user exposure for the household 
refrigeration end-use, EPA modeled 15- and 30-minute TWAs for 
catastrophic refrigerant release in a consumer kitchen under a 
reasonable worst-case scenario. Even under the very conservative 
modeling assumptions used, EPA found that exposures to any of the three 
hydrocarbons would not pose a toxicity threat to end-users in the 
household refrigeration end-use because the TWAs were significantly 
lower than the NOAEL and/or acute exposure guideline level (AEGL).
    To assess consumer and end-user exposure for the retail food 
refrigeration end-use, EPA estimated 15- and 30-minute TWAs as acute/
short-term consumer exposures resulting from catastrophic leakage of 
refrigerant from retail food refrigerators and compared the TWAs to 
standard toxicity limits. EPA concluded that none of the three 
hydrocarbons posed a toxicity threat to consumers in the retail end-use 
because the TWAs were significantly lower than the NOAEL and/or AEGL.
    Finally, EPA assessed the exposure risk to the general population 
for the three hydrocarbons in their respective end-uses. To do so, EPA 
estimated factory and on-site releases of each hydrocarbon and compared 
them to each hydrocarbon's reference concentration (RfC).\15\ In all 
cases, the modeled exposure concentrations were significantly lower 
than the RfC, leading EPA to conclude that isobutane, propane, and R-
441A are unlikely to pose a toxicity risk to the general population. 
These toxicity risks are lower than or comparable to those posed by the 
other acceptable substitutes in these end-uses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ The RfC is a concentration designed to protect the general 
population against adverse systemic (i.e., non-cancer) health 
effects.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. What is EPA's response to comments on the May 2010 notice of 
proposed rulemaking?

    In this section, EPA responds to comments on the May 10, 2010, 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

A. EPA's Acceptability Determination

    Comment: Ninety-nine commenters expressed unconditional support for 
EPA's proposal to find isobutane and R-441A acceptable (subject to use 
conditions) in the household refrigeration end-use and to find propane 
acceptable (subject to use conditions) in the retail food refrigeration 
end-use.

[[Page 78840]]

    Response: We appreciate the support for our proposed action, and we 
are taking final action consistent with that proposal.
    Comment: One commenter observed that although hydrocarbon 
refrigerants provide some environmental benefit by reducing GHG 
emissions, they pose flammability risks that more than offset that 
benefit. The commenter stated that the global warming impacts of HFC 
refrigerants are currently small due to their low emissions (except in 
the case of catastrophic leaks), and practices are in place to recover 
refrigerant and destroy foam at an appliance's end-of-life. The 
commenter also observed that hydrocarbon refrigerants could enter the 
refrigerant recovery/recycle chain during servicing or at the end-of-
life, necessitating costly upgrades to recycle/recovery equipment in 
order to mitigate potential flammability risks.
    Response: EPA reviews substitutes according to regulatory criteria 
provided at 40 CFR 82.180(a)(7) and described above. EPA has evaluated 
the hydrocarbon refrigerants against these criteria and has concluded 
that they present overall environmental and human health risks that are 
lower than or comparable to other acceptable substitutes in the 
household refrigeration and retail food refrigeration end-uses. EPA 
agrees that flammability risks could be a concern for these 
refrigerants in these end-uses. But, for the two end-uses at issue in 
this rule, where charges are limited and there is a long history of 
safe use globally, EPA believes risks can be mitigated to ensure the 
substitutes can be used as safely as other available substitutes. We 
are establishing use conditions to ensure that these substitutes pose 
an overall risk to human health and the environment that is lower than 
or comparable to the overall risk posed by other substitutes in the 
same end-uses.
    With respect to the comment regarding risks during servicing and at 
end-of-life, EPA agrees that flammability could pose a concern for the 
servicing and disposal of appliances containing hydrocarbon 
refrigerants. However, the use conditions in this final rule address 
this potential risk. For example, the labeling requirements and the 
requirement for coloring of tubing will serve as notification to 
servicing or disposal personnel that an appliance contains a flammable 
refrigerant.
    Section V.L (below) also discusses recovery equipment. Based on 
comments received, EPA believes that recovery equipment designed 
specifically for flammable refrigerants is not yet widely manufactured 
or available in the U.S., although certain commenters observed that 
they have created their own equipment to meet this need in their own 
business practices.
    Comment: Another commenter provided detailed comments on EPA's risk 
screen for the use of isobutane in the household refrigeration end-use 
and limited comments on EPA's risk screen for the use of propane in the 
retail food refrigeration end-use. The commenter stated that EPA has 
underestimated the safety risks associated with the use of hydrocarbon 
refrigerants. The comments covered the following:
    1. A fault-tree analysis calculating the probability of failures 
that would lead to ignition of the refrigerant;
    2. The results of an external leak test in a mockup kitchen to 
illustrate the consequences of an external leak;
    3. The results of an internal leak test and a deflagration/
explosion test to illustrate the consequences of an internal leak;
    4. An observation about a manufacturer's major recall of certain 
models of isobutane refrigerators in 2009 as a result of safety 
incidents in Asia and Europe; and
    5. A statement of similar concerns about the use of propane in 
small commercial refrigeration systems.
    This section of the preamble summarizes these comments and EPA's 
response.
    Comment 1: Fault tree analysis.
    Comment: The commenter included a fault-tree analysis (FTA) that 
assessed the probability of household refrigerator ignition events due 
to the random coincidence of ignition sources and internal refrigerant 
leaks. An FTA considers how likely different events are and how 
resistant a system is to various faults. The commenter's FTA analyzed 
several potential scenarios in which ignition events could take place 
in household refrigerators. The commenter's FTA calculated that 
isobutane household refrigerators in the U.S. would experience: (a) 2.9 
ignition events per year at full market penetration as a result of 
independent, random events, and (b) an additional 2.5 ignition events 
for every 10 million refrigerators that enter the market due to a 
specific coupled failure in which the malfunction of the defrost heater 
is both the cause of the leak and the ignition source. The commenter 
concluded that EPA potentially underestimated the risk of ignition-
related failures in residential refrigerators for internal leak events. 
Details of the two calculations are presented below.
    (a) Failure scenarios based on independent, random events. The 
commenter's FTA identified two events that, occurring simultaneously, 
could potentially lead to an ignition event: (1) An internal isobutane 
refrigerant leak and (2) the occurrence of an energy source with 
sufficient energy to cause ignition. The commenter's FTA identified and 
calculated probabilities for the different ways in which each of these 
events could happen.
    To calculate the probability of an internal leak event, the 
commenter made assumptions regarding: The number of refrigerator 
repairs due to joint leakage and evaporator corrosion that might be 
related to a leak; the number of refrigerator repairs annually (based 
on the estimated amount of HFC-134a currently sold for use in 
servicing); and a multiplier accounting for the number of leaking 
refrigerators that would be thrown away instead of repaired. Based on 
these assumptions, the commenter estimated that isobutane refrigerators 
would experience approximately 260,000 internal leak failures per year 
in the U.S. at full market penetration (which the commenter estimated 
at approximately 150 million refrigerators).
    To calculate the probability of an energy source with sufficient 
energy to cause ignition, the commenter's FTA estimated the probability 
of sparks from internal switches and controls, the defrost heater, and 
static electricity, asserting that any of these sparks would have 
sufficient energy to ignite a leak. The commenter's FTA calculated the 
likelihood of an ignition source as 11.2 in 1,000,000.
    The commenter's FTA integrated the above assumptions and estimates 
to calculate an expected 2.9 ignition events per year at U.S. full 
market penetration.
    (b) ``Coupled leak failure'' scenario. The commenter asserted that 
in addition to the random, independent events assessed above, the 
defrost heater presents a risk of a coupled failure because an electric 
short to the evaporator coil can be the cause of both the refrigerant 
leak and the ignition event. The commenter took three factors into 
account to determine the total number of ignition events from this 
coupled failure: (1) The probability that the defrost heater will 
short-circuit, (2) the probability that an arc from the defrost heater 
will cause a refrigerant leak, and (3) the probability that the 
refrigerant will be present in sufficient quantities to ignite (i.e., 
whether the concentration will be at the LFL or higher). The commenter 
estimated that for every 10 million household refrigerators using 
isobutane that are produced, there would be an estimated 2.5 failure 
events in which an electrical short to the evaporator coil causes both

[[Page 78841]]

a refrigerant leak and an ignition over the lifetime of those units. 
The commenter clarified that this value is in addition to the ignition 
events calculated in the previous FTA, which would result from the 
coincidence of independent, random events.
    Response: While EPA believes that the commenter has overestimated 
failure probabilities, we agree with the commenter that the risks 
associated with the use of isobutane in household refrigerators are 
greater than zero. EPA believes, however, that these risks are 
sufficiently small and should not preclude a determination that 
isobutane is acceptable for use subject to use conditions that are for 
the purpose of mitigating the potential risks.
    EPA's interpretation of the risk of ignition-related failures in 
residential refrigerators for internal leak events is based on 
information presented in ``Risk Assessment of Flammable Refrigerants 
for Use in Home Appliances'' (A.D. Little, 1991). The A.D. Little 
report, available in the docket for this rulemaking, included an FTA in 
which leak rate calculations were based on historical leak rate data 
provided by three refrigerator manufacturers. As explained in more 
detail below, EPA believes that many elements of the commenter's FTA 
are undocumented, are at odds with the industry data used in the A.D. 
Little report, and present internal analytical inconsistencies.
    (a) Failure scenarios based on independent, random events. 
Regarding the failure scenarios based on independent, random events, we 
note that the commenter's discussion of methodology, the equation used 
for the calculation, and the calculations in the commenter's FTA were 
inconsistent with each other, making it difficult to evaluate what had 
been done. Based on the commenter's discussion of methodology, EPA 
believes that the commenter's FTA applied assumptions that are either 
undocumented or unsupported by industry data. One such assumption is 
particularly problematic: The commenter's analysis appears to have 
considered all leaks as potential risks for ignition. However, in order 
for a leak to pose a potential risk for ignition, the refrigerant must 
be present in amounts that meet or exceed the LFL. The ability of a 
refrigerant to accumulate and reach its LFL is a function of both the 
rate at which the leak occurs and the presence of enclosed spaces that 
can trap the refrigerant and allow it to build up. Neither of these 
conditions was accounted for in the commenter's probability 
calculations.
    As previously mentioned, the A.D. Little report calculated leak 
rates from historical leak rate data provided by three refrigerator 
manufacturers. A.D. Little distinguished ``catastrophic'' leaks (the 
loss of a significant portion of refrigerant charge over a few minutes) 
from ``slow'' leaks, observing that only catastrophic or ``fast'' leaks 
would allow refrigerant to accumulate to a level of concern. The report 
goes on to calculate the ``average'' risk that a leak is a fast leak as 
0.1 percent and the ``worst-case'' risk that a leak is a fast leak as 1 
percent. EPA believes that the commenter's failure to distinguish 
``slow'' from ``fast'' leaks causes the commenter's analysis to 
overestimate the risk of an ignitable leak by at least two orders of 
magnitude.
    Furthermore, today's rule finalizes use conditions that guard 
against the potential that refrigerant from a ``fast'' leak will be 
able to accumulate in amounts that reach the LFL, or that an ignition 
source would cause an ignition event in the case of a significant leak. 
The use conditions require any household refrigerator using isobutane 
to be designed specifically for use with flammable refrigerant in a 
manner that complies with the UL 250 Standard. UL 250, Supplement SA, 
``Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable 
Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System,'' is intended to protect 
against an ignition incident in the event of a refrigerant leak. Units 
that are in compliance with UL 250 (particularly Supplement SA) have 
passed appropriate ignition or leakage tests as stipulated in the 
standard. Passing the leakage test (at SA 5.1.2.7 and SA 5.1.3.6) 
ensures that refrigerant concentrations in the event of a leak do not 
reach or exceed 75 percent of the LFL inside any internal or external 
electrical component compartments.
    (b) ``Coupled leak failure'' scenario. EPA's concerns about the 
independent variables underlying the coupled leak failure scenario are 
the same as those articulated above for randomized events. The 
commenter did not provide clear documentation or a rationale for how 
estimates were derived.
    EPA believes that the commenter overestimated the probability that 
a defrost heater would cause a leak and cause ignition because the 
calculation neglected to account for an important factor: the 
probability of a defrost cycle coinciding with the time period during 
which concentrations in the compartment reach the LFL. Even if a 
refrigerant is present in sufficient quantity (i.e., at LFL), it will 
not ignite if there is no ignition source. For example, if the door to 
a compartment that contains refrigerant at LFL is opened before a new 
defrost cycle begins and the refrigerant dissipates to concentrations 
below the LFL, then no ignition event will take place, when the next 
defrost heater cycle begins and an arc occurs. The commenter claimed 
that the defrost cycle is only active 2 percent of the time (for three 
10-minute periods per day). Had the commenter incorporated this factor 
into the calculations, the number of coupled leak failures would be 
approximately 50 times lower, dropping from 2.5 per 10 million units to 
about 0.05 per 10 million units. Since this is the probability of a 
coupled leak failure over the lifetime of a unit, and the average 
lifetime of a unit is estimated to be a minimum of 10 years, this would 
correspond to at most 0.08 ignition events per year at full market 
penetration (approximately 150 million refrigerators, according to the 
commenter) due to a coupled leak failure. We consider this a reasonable 
risk level. Moreover, use conditions in this final rule should further 
decrease the likelihood of such an event occurring, and that these 
risks are sufficiently small and should not preclude a determination 
that isobutane is acceptable for use, subject to use conditions that 
are for the purpose of mitigating potential risks.
    Comment 2: External leak test.
    The commenter presented results from an experiment that mimicked a 
leak from an isobutane refrigerator using a bottom-freezer refrigerator 
located inside a controlled ambient chamber and performed test 
measurements of isobutane levels in a mockup kitchen. The commenter 
stated that the experiment followed the leak procedure in the UL 250 
standard, including the following setup:
     A kitchen intended to closely resemble a typical U.S. 
kitchen;
     A bottom-freezer refrigerator located inside a control 
ambient chamber;
     A 57-gram charge of isobutane; and
     Eight calibrated Henze-Hauck concentration sensors near 
potential ignition sources.

    After running the test, the commenter stated that five sensors 
showed isobutane concentrations exceeding the LFL for several minutes. 
The commenter used these results as the basis of an assertion that EPA 
underestimated the risks from external leaks.
    Response: To assess the commenter's experiment fully, EPA would 
require values for the commenter's test parameters and supporting 
documentation. Based on the information provided, however, we have the 
following responses.

[[Page 78842]]

    We note that the commenter's experiment was meant to simulate a 
worst-case scenario leak. Based on industry data in the A.D. Little 
report, the annual probability of a catastrophic leak outside a given 
refrigerator is typically 3.6 x 10-7, with a worst-case 
probability of 9.0 x 10-6.
    The commenter did not provide the make and model of the 
refrigerator used, and did not describe whether it was designed 
specifically to use isobutane as a refrigerant. Since EPA is requiring 
any isobutane refrigerator to be designed specifically for use with 
flammable refrigerant and to comply with Supplement SA of UL 250 for 
use with flammable refrigerants, results from a test for a refrigerator 
not designed to meet the requirements of Supplement SA would not 
reflect the risks associated with an isobutane refrigerator that is 
compliant with the use conditions in this final rule. Even if the 
refrigerator were specifically designed for use with an isobutane 
refrigerant and fully compliant with all portions of the UL 250 
Standard, EPA believes that the leaked refrigerant at the locations of 
the five sensors showing isobutane concentrations at or exceeding the 
LFL is not likely to ignite for the reasons discussed below.
    The commenter's experiment leaked an unrealistically large amount 
of refrigerant, causing slightly higher measurements for isobutane 
concentrations than could be expected in the actual event of a leak. As 
described in Section V.D of this preamble (Charge Size Limitation--
Household Refrigeration), the proposed and final rules limit the charge 
size for each sealed refrigerant system to 57 grams, with a use 
condition for compliance with the UL 250 Standard Supplement SA, which 
calls for a charge size that will not leak more than 50 grams of 
hydrocarbon refrigerant with properties similar to isobutane. Thus, a 
leak of 57 grams, such as the one described in the commenter's 
experiment, is not consistent with a possible leak from an isobutane 
refrigerator that is compliant with the use conditions in this final 
rule.
    The first of the five sensors that showed isobutane concentrations 
above the LFL registered a maximum level of 1.9% for approximately 0.6 
minutes (36 seconds). This was just barely above the LFL of 1.8% and 
had a duration of less than a minute. The sensor would have measured a 
concentration at or above the LFL for less than 0.6 minutes, if at all, 
if the test had leaked a realistic amount of refrigerant based on the 
use conditions in the proposed and final rules.
    The concentrations measured at the four other sensors likely still 
would have been higher than the LFL, even if a realistic amount of 
refrigerant had been leaked. However, EPA does not believe that there 
are likely ignition sources present at those locations, which are near 
the compressor relay, on the floor behind the refrigerator, on the 
floor just in front of the refrigerator, and on the floor 2.5 meters in 
front of the refrigerator. If the refrigerator were designed in 
accordance with the UL 250 Standard as required by this rule, then 
there would be no ignition sources in either of the first two 
locations, or the refrigerator would be designed in such a way that the 
LFL would not be reached near an ignition source in those 
locations.\16\ As for the last two sensors, EPA disagrees with the 
commenter's assertion that these locations are a likely source of 
sparks. While not impossible, we believe it is highly unlikely that a 
major external leak would occur and at the same time, someone would 
light a match or cigarette in their kitchen and then drop it on the 
floor. We note that the LFL was not reached at the sensor located near 
a more likely spark source--30 inches above the floor at an electrical 
outlet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ Under SA5.1 of the Standard, a leakage test is required to 
ensure that refrigerant concentrations measured near any internal or 
external electrical component cannot exceed 75% of the LFL at any 
point in time and, furthermore, cannot exceed 50% of the LFL for 
more than 5 minutes at a time. (SA5.1.2.7, SA5.1.3.6). For any 
locations in which the LFL exceeds these amounts, the product would 
need to pass an ignition test (SA5.2) and a temperature test (SA 
5.3) to ensure that electrical and heating components will not 
ignite the specific flammable refrigerant under consideration in 
order to comply with UL 250.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to the commenter's general observation that EPA's risk 
screen may underestimate risks, EPA revisited the assumptions made in 
the end-use modeling for both isobutane and R-441A in the household 
refrigeration end-use to identify opportunities for a more conservative 
analysis. The results of this analysis are provided in a memo, 
``Additional end-use modeling for household refrigerators and 
freezers'' (ICF, 2011d), which is provided in the docket for this 
rulemaking. This exercise identified two parameters for which 
assumptions could be more conservative:
     Leak amounts were increased to 57 grams (representing the 
entire allowable charge size) rather than 50 grams (for isobutane) and 
40 grams (for R-441A), which were the intended charge sizes submitted 
by the applicants. While a leak amount of 57 grams is greater than that 
allowed by the UL 250 Standard, this additional analysis conservatively 
accounts for the possibility of incorrect manufacturer testing of the 
product. (We note that a refrigerator that leaks more than 50 grams of 
isobutane or R-441A refrigerant would not be in compliance with UL 250, 
and therefore would be in violation of the use conditions of this 
rule.)
     Stratification was more conservatively modeled through the 
assumption that 95 percent of the leaked refrigerant mixes evenly into 
the bottom 0.2 meters (9 inches) of the room, rather than the bottom 
0.4 meters as assumed in the risk screen.
    Using these more conservative assumptions, EPA performed additional 
flammability and threshold analysis. EPA found that even with a higher 
leak amount and a greater degree of stratification, the LFL was not 
reached in the model for either refrigerant. Furthermore, it would take 
a 75-gram leak in an 18 m\3\ kitchen or a 57-gram leak in a 13.8 m\3\ 
kitchen to meet or exceed the LFL in the lower portion of the room for 
isobutane. Likewise, it would take a 59-gram leak in an 18 m\3\ kitchen 
or a 57-gram leak in a 17.3 m\3\ kitchen to meet or exceed the LFL in 
the lower compartment of the room for R-441A. It should be noted that a 
survey of kitchen sizes found the smallest kitchen volume to be 31 
m\3\, with 99 percent of kitchens having a volume of at least 53 m\3\ 
(Murray, 1997 as cited in ICF, 2009a; ICF, 2009d; ICF, 2011a; and ICF, 
2011c). Thus the results of this more conservative and protective 
modeling do not indicate a significant cause for concern that would 
cause us to change our determination that isobutane and R-441A are 
acceptable subject to use conditions for use in the household 
refrigeration end-use.
    Depending on the mixing conditions, it is still possible that in 
certain locations at floor level, or in restricted areas such as the 
space between a refrigerator and a wall, the concentrations of 
isobutane or R-441A could reach their LFLs for a few minutes, posing a 
threat in the presence of a spark. However, in the worst case, the 
annual probability of a ``fast'' external leak occurring and an 
ignition source being present simultaneously is approximately 5.0 x 
10-7, or 0.5 in a million) (A.D. Little, 1991).
    Comment 3: Internal leak test and explosion/deflagration 
experiment.
    The commenter provided a cursory description of an internal leak 
test that measured isobutane concentrations inside the freezer 
compartment. The commenter concluded that refrigerant concentrations 
inside the freezer compartment reached 3.2 percent, which exceeds the 
LFL of 1.8 percent.

[[Page 78843]]

    The commenter also described the results of a test to reproduce the 
deflagration/explosion when an internal leak is ignited. The commenter 
stated that it performed a leakage test according to UL 250 on a U.S. 
market refrigerator with original components, including the defrost 
heater, in outdoor ambient conditions. The test leaked 57 grams of 
refrigerant and used an unidentified sparking source to simulate a 
faulty defrost heater connection in the freezer compartment. The result 
was a violent explosion that sent heavy objects, such as the freezer 
door, flying up to 48 feet high. The commenter argued that this 
demonstrates that 57 grams of isobutane would produce enough energy to 
result in structural damage.
    Response: As was the case for the external leak test, the commenter 
provided neither the make and model of the refrigerator used, nor a 
statement regarding whether the refrigerator was designed specifically 
to use isobutane. Since EPA is requiring all isobutane refrigerators to 
be designed specifically for use with flammable refrigerant and to 
comply with Supplement SA of UL 250 for use of flammable refrigerants, 
results from a test for a non-compliant refrigerator would not reflect 
the risks associated with an isobutane refrigerator that is in 
compliance with the use conditions in this rule. As previously noted, 
Supplement SA is intended to protect against an ignition incident in 
the event of a refrigerant leak. Units that are in compliance with 
Supplement SA of UL 250 have passed appropriate ignition or leakage 
tests as stipulated in the standard. Passing the leakage test (at SA 
5.1.2.7 and SA 5.1.3.6) ensures that refrigerant concentrations in the 
event of a leak do not reach 75 percent of the LFL inside food 
compartments.
    EPA also notes that the commenter's experiment was meant to 
simulate a worst-case scenario leak. Based on industry data in the A.D. 
Little report, the annual probability of a fire or explosion inside a 
given refrigerator is 2.7 - 10-13 on average, with a worst-
case probability of 7.0 - 10-12. This latter value 
corresponds to roughly 0.001 ignition events per year (or 1 ignition 
event every 1,000 years) at full market penetration (approximately 150 
million refrigerators, according to the commenter) under a worst-case 
scenario. We consider this a reasonable risk level. Again, we note that 
the use conditions in this final rule should further decrease the 
likelihood of such an event occurring, and that these risks are small 
enough not to preclude a determination that isobutane is acceptable for 
use subject to the use conditions required by this final rule.
    Comment 4: Recall of isobutane refrigerators.
    The commenter described a major recall of certain models of 
isobutane refrigerators. In 2009 a major consumer refrigerator 
manufacturer announced a recall of isobutane refrigerators as a result 
of safety incidents that occurred in Asia and Europe. These incidents 
occurred despite the fact that these units were specifically designed 
to operate with isobutane, and were designed to eliminate potential 
ignition sources. The electrical insulation in the defrost mechanism in 
these units carbonized, leading to partial short-circuiting and 
sparking. The sparking corroded the adjacent tubing, which resulted in 
a leak of hydrocarbon refrigerant. Isobutane concentrations accumulated 
enough to exceed the LFL in the closed refrigerator unit. During the 
next defrost cycle, the faulty electrical circuit resulted in ignition 
of the refrigerant and an explosion.
    Response: The recall discussed in this comment occurred in October 
2009 and involved approximately 400,000 refrigerators in South Korea 
and Europe that were manufactured between March 2005 and June 2006. 
According to the manufacturer, the recall was triggered by an October 
29, 2009, explosion of an isobutane refrigerator in Gyeonggi, South 
Korea. Press accounts also discuss a small number of related incidents 
in the United Kingdom and Germany between 2006 and 2009. Addressing the 
problem under the recall involved home visits to install a safety 
device to prevent the defrost heater from overheating.
    EPA notes that this final rule requires all isobutane refrigerators 
to comply with the provisions of Supplement SA to UL 250. These 
provisions include leakage, ignition, and temperature tests, as well as 
an accelerated aging test of heater terminal seals and an insulation 
resistance test of all defrost heaters. These tests are not included in 
the standards established by the International Electrotechnical 
Commission (IEC) that would have been applicable to the appliances 
under recall.
    EPA also notes that more than 400 million hydrocarbon refrigerator 
units are in use worldwide; in China alone, 75 percent of new domestic 
refrigerators/freezers use isobutane. Refrigerator ignition incidents 
resulting from leaked isobutane appear to be rare considering the 
widespread use of hydrocarbon refrigerators worldwide.
    Comment 5: Use of propane in small commercial refrigeration 
systems.
    The commenter includes a brief observation that the use of propane 
in small commercial refrigeration systems poses risks similar to use of 
isobutane in residential refrigerators. The commenter also argues that 
larger hydrocarbon charges pose a higher risk of ignition events, and 
that small commercial refrigeration systems are known to have much 
higher leakage frequencies and failure rates than residential systems.
    Response: As discussed above, EPA performed a risk screen on the 
use of propane in small commercial refrigeration systems (ICF, 2009b, 
revised as ICF, 2011b), which is available in the docket for this 
rulemaking. The risk screen indicates that propane's LFL is not reached 
in the retail food refrigeration end-use where the charge size does not 
exceed that established by the use conditions. As described in the risk 
screen, under a worst-case (catastrophic) release scenario the maximum 
instantaneous concentration of propane in the lowest stratum of the 
room would be approximately 66 percent of the LFL and the concentration 
in the upper part of the room would be lower. Further, the SNAP 
application for this end-use pointed out that no catastrophic 
(``fast'') leaks had been reported from among the 270,000 hydrocarbon 
refrigerators in operation belonging to the submitter.
    The commenter did not provide information to refute EPA's risk 
screen for retail food refrigeration. EPA's flammability assessment 
indicates that the risk of explosion is extremely small in this end-
use.

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

    EPA received ten comments on its proposed requirement that 
hydrocarbon refrigerants ``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).'' Nine of the commenters supported 
restricting the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants to new equipment only.
    Comment: One commenter requested that retrofitting old household 
refrigerators and freezers and retail food refrigerators (stand-alone 
equipment only) be allowed. The commenter suggested that safety 
concerns could be alleviated by allowing retrofitting only by personnel 
who are trained to handle flammable refrigerants.
    Response: Under the SNAP program, an application for SNAP approval 
specifies whether the proposed refrigerant use is for new equipment,

[[Page 78844]]

retrofitted equipment, or both. None of the submissions applied for use 
in retrofitted equipment. The Agency did not conduct a risk analysis 
for use of the substitutes in retrofitted equipment, nor did any of the 
comments provide such an analysis. Therefore, EPA is not addressing 
such use at this time.
    EPA would consider whether to find hydrocarbon refrigerants 
acceptable for use in retrofitted equipment in the future if sufficient 
evidence, including a risk assessment, is provided and shows that such 
use will present risks to human health and the environment that are 
lower than or comparable to risks from other available substitutes.

C. Compliance With UL Standards

    EPA received ten sets of comments on its proposed requirement that 
the hydrocarbon refrigerants be used only in refrigerators or freezers 
that meet all requirements listed in the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 
Standard for Household Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 250 (for the 
household refrigeration end-use) \17\ and the UL Standard for 
Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 471 (for the retail food 
refrigeration end-use).\18\ Most commenters supported adherence to 
applicable UL standards, although some offered the following additional 
comments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ EPA is referencing Supplement SA (``Requirements for 
Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the 
Refrigerating System'') from UL Standard 250, ``Household 
Refrigerators and Freezers,'' 10th edition.
    \18\ EPA is referencing the UL Standard 471, 9th edition 
Supplement SB; ``Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comment: One commenter recommended that a final rule be contingent 
upon the existence and acceptance of a comprehensive industry-wide 
safety standard. The commenter also suggested that EPA could add other 
standards to the list of references addressing the safety of 
hydrocarbon refrigerants. The commenter referred to ANSI Standard 
Z21.24,\19\ ASHRAE Standard 15,\20\ UL Standard 21,\21\ EN 378,\22\ 
ISO-5149,\23\ the IOR Safety Code of Practice for Refrigerating Systems 
Utilising A2 & A3 Refrigerants,\24\ and AS/NZS 1677.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z21.24: 
Connectors for Gas Appliances.
    \20\ ASHRAE Standard 15-2010: Safety Standard for Refrigeration 
Systems.
    \21\ UL 21: Standard for LP-Gas Hose.
    \22\ EN 378: Refrigerating systems and heat pumps--Safety and 
environmental requirements. Prepared by European Committee for 
Standardization/Technical Committee CEN/TC 182 (Refrigerating 
systems, safety and environmental requirements).
    \23\ International Organization for Standardization. ISO 5149: 
Mechanical refrigerating systems used for cooling and heating--
Safety requirements.
    \24\ IOR (Institute of Refrigeration): Safety code of practice 
for refrigerating systems utilising A2 and A3 refrigerants.
    \25\ The Joint Australian Standard/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 
1677: Addresses safety, design, construction, installation, testing, 
inspection, operation and maintenance of refrigeration systems.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Response: It is unclear what was intended by either comment. 
Regarding the first comment, EPA notes that the UL standards are in 
fact industry-wide safety standards. UL has tested equipment for 
flammability risk in both household and retail food refrigeration. UL 
also has developed acceptable safety standards including requirements 
for construction, for marking, and for leakage, ignition, and 
temperature tests, as well as an accelerated aging test of heater 
terminal seals and an insulation resistance test of all defrost 
heaters.
    With respect to the second comment, it is unclear whether the 
commenter is suggesting that the other standards be imposed as use 
conditions, whether they should be included in the ``Further 
Information'' column of the regulations, or whether they should simply 
be described in this preamble. The commenter provided no reasoning as 
to why the listed standards should be included either as use conditions 
or in the ``Further Information'' column of the regulation, and we are 
not aware that these standards provide any additional protections that 
are not provided by this rule. EPA believes that the use conditions 
established in this final rule will ensure that these substitutes will 
present risks that are lower than or comparable to the risks from other 
available alternatives.

D. Charge Size Limitation (Household Refrigeration)

    EPA received ten comments on its proposed charge size limitation of 
57 grams (2.0 ounces) for the household refrigeration end-use.
    Comment: Five commenters recommended a limit of 150 grams (5.3 
ounces) to correspond to standards established by the International 
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC 60335-2-24), including two non-
governmental organizations, a manufacturer of refrigerator compressors, 
and two manufacturers of household refrigerators and freezers. One of 
these commenters, an environmental organization, observed that over 400 
million refrigerators using propane and isobutane refrigerants are in 
use worldwide and that they generally are certified to the 150-gram 
international safety standard. The commenter stated that EPA has not 
provided a justification for a 57-gram charge size limit.
    One commenter, a manufacturer of household refrigerators and 
freezers, stated that the 57-gram charge size limit in some cases would 
reduce the efficiency of the appliance and raise the indirect GHG 
emissions associated with the product's energy use. Two commenters, a 
manufacturer of household refrigerators and freezers and an 
environmental organization, observed that the UL 250 standard could 
change in the future and recommended that EPA should modify its charge 
size limitation to harmonize with UL 250 as it changes over time.
    Three of the commenters supported the 57-gram limitation, including 
a manufacturer of household refrigerators and freezers that submitted 
to the SNAP program for hydrocarbon refrigerant in this end use; a 
manufacturer of commercial refrigerators and freezers that submitted to 
the SNAP program for hydrocarbon refrigerant in both household and 
commercial refrigerators and freezers; and a manufacturer of commercial 
refrigerators and freezers.
    Response: EPA agrees with the comments supporting the proposed 
requirement that the charge size not exceed 57 grams for household 
refrigeration. UL 250 allows a maximum leak amount of 50 grams (1.8 
ounces), and the submitter used procedures outlined in the UL 250 
leakage test to conclude that up to 7 grams of additional refrigerant 
charge could be solubilized in the oil (and assumed not to leak or 
immediately vaporize with the refrigerant in the event of a leak). This 
information was reflected in EPA's risk screen for isobutane, which 
modeled a maximum refrigerant release of 50 grams (ICF, 2009a and ICF, 
2011a).
    It is true that hundreds of millions of refrigerators and freezers 
using propane and isobutane refrigerants in other countries are 
certified to the IEC 60335-2-24 standard, which allows for a charge of 
hydrocarbon refrigerant up to 150 g. However, available evidence 
suggests that most of these appliances actually have charges that are 
closer to 57 g than to 150 g. For comparison, a typical U.S. household 
refrigerator using HFC-134a has a charge of roughly 140 g,\26\ and a 
charge of isobutane providing comparable cooling would be 40 to 50% of 
the charge of HFC-134a,\27\ or 56 to 70 g. It is EPA's understanding 
that most European household refrigerators are smaller than the typical 
U.S. household refrigerator and that they use less charge; thus, we 
would expect that

[[Page 78845]]

European household refrigerators have charge sizes less than 70 g. The 
commenter's own Web site states, ``[T]oday's hydrocarbon refrigerators, 
with hermetically sealed compressor systems, use between 30 to 70 grams 
of refrigerant, depending on the size of the refrigerator.'' \28\ Thus, 
the safety record of hydrocarbon refrigerators and freezers in Europe 
appears to reflect experience primarily with charge sizes much smaller 
than 150 g.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ A. D. Little, 2002.
    \27\ ACRIB, 2001.
    \28\ Greenpeace, 1997.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    While EPA could assess various charge sizes on a theoretical basis, 
we do not have the resources to perform product testing and we rely 
primarily on industry, national safety standard organizations, and non-
governmental organizations to conduct tests on appliances. UL has 
tested household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators 
and freezers for safety, especially with respect to flammability 
concerns, and the U.S. insurance industry and commercial sector rely on 
the results of those tests. Testing by manufacturers and UL addresses 
flammability in the manufacturing process as well as how the product 
functions with different charge sizes. UL developed the 50-gram 
allowable leak limit as the result of testing during development of the 
UL 250 standard for household refrigerators and freezers. The 50-gram 
allowable leak limit for household refrigerators in UL 250 differs from 
the 150-gram allowable leak limit for commercial refrigerators and 
freezers in UL 471 due to factors such as the difference in the room 
sizes modeled for household versus retail appliances. Therefore, 
building on the UL allowance of a 50-gram allowable leak limit and the 
tests performed by the submitter, we concluded that the maximum charge 
size should be 57 grams for the household refrigeration end-use.
    EPA did not receive specific information concerning the potential 
energy efficiency effects of limiting the charge size to 57 g or less. 
Thus, we are not able to judge the technical merits of the commenter's 
statement.
    EPA does not have sufficient information supported by safety 
testing data at this time from other commenters, industry, U.S. 
national safety organizations, or non-governmental organizations to 
support a charge size limit different from one based on UL 250, such as 
the 150-gram limit in IEC 60335-2-24. EPA understands that the limit in 
UL 250 may change in the future. If that occurs, and if the appropriate 
safety testing data is submitted to EPA supporting safe use of a larger 
charge, we would consider modifying the use conditions at a future 
date.
    We acknowledge that a larger charge size may improve the energy 
efficiency of an appliance and simplify its construction. However, 
based on the analyses available at this time, we do not have sufficient 
information to demonstrate that a larger charge size would not create 
an unacceptable level of risk as compared to other available 
substitutes in the household refrigeration end-use. As noted above, EPA 
could modify the use conditions in the future if sufficient data were 
submitted to support safe use of a larger charge size.
    Comment: One commenter requested a more precise definition of 
``charge,'' recognizing that the exact value of the charge depends on 
the accuracy of the charging equipment.
    Response: EPA regulations do not provide an accuracy specification 
or interpretation for ``charge'' or ``charge size.'' EPA believes that 
such a regulatory definition is not necessary for purposes of this use 
condition. EPA believes that the wording in the use condition (``the 
quantity of the substitute refrigerant'') provides sufficient guidance 
and that manufacturers and service technicians have the proper 
instrumentation and training to judge the quantity of refrigerant being 
charged to an appliance.
    Comment: One commenter encouraged EPA to clarify or provide a test 
procedure for how manufacturers should measure the potential solubility 
of isobutane in the oil.
    Response: Providing such a test procedure is beyond the scope of 
this final rule. The use conditions reflect the assumption that 7 grams 
of a 57-gram charge could be solubilized in the refrigerant oil while 
still allowing compliance with UL 250. The SNAP submittal for isobutane 
in the household refrigeration end-use contains information on the 
solubility of isobutane with refrigerant oils (GE, 2008). We typically 
defer to the technical standard-setting agency on this type of issue 
unless there is convincing evidence disputing such a calculation. 
Moreover, we note that manufacturers that choose to use isobutane are 
not obligated to measure its potential solubility in oil for purposes 
of complying with the use conditions, since any charge below 50 grams 
would be in compliance with UL 250 and the charge size limitations of 
this rule. Thus we see no reason to establish a test procedure for 
performing such an analysis.
    Comment: Two commenters observed that an appliance in the household 
refrigeration end-use might incorporate more than one sealed system and 
requested that the charge size limitation apply to each sealed system 
in an appliance, not to the entire appliance.
    Response: EPA agrees and is clarifying that the 57-gram charge size 
limit applies to each sealed system.\29\ A household refrigeration 
appliance may incorporate multiple sealed systems. Having multiple 
sealed systems is less of a concern than having a single system with 
the same combined charge since the probability of two sealed systems 
leaking simultaneously is very low. In addition, hermetically sealed 
systems are less likely to leak, presenting a lower probability of fire 
or explosion. Hermetically sealed systems provide an increased level of 
safety in normal use.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ A ``sealed system'' is an independently operated 
refrigeration system, including a compressor, evaporator, condenser, 
metering device, and refrigerant not shared for other purposes. For 
example, a refrigerator-freezer might employ one sealed system to 
chill food in the refrigerator section and a second sealed system to 
keep food frozen in the freezer compartment. ``Appliance'' is 
defined at 40 CFR 82.152 as ``any device which contains and uses a 
refrigerant and which is used for household or commercial purposes, 
including any air conditioner, refrigerator, chiller, or freezer.'' 
Thus a refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and 
freezer, for example, may consist of two appliances provided that 
the refrigerant in the first appliance (i.e., the first compressor, 
condenser, evaporator, and metering device) does not mix with the 
refrigerant in the second appliance (e.g., the second compressor, 
condenser, evaporator, and metering device).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

E. Charge Size Limitation (Retail Food Refrigeration)

    EPA received seven sets of comments on its proposed charge size 
limitation of 150 grams (5.3 ounces) for the retail food refrigeration 
end-use. Six commenters supported the 150-gram limitation, although 
some offered additional comments.
    Comment: One commenter recommended increasing the limit to 170 
grams for three reasons: first, that EPA's 150-gram limit was 
calculated based on a small European-sized kitchen and reflected a 20-
percent reduction from the LFL; second, that the proposed limit was 
based on domestic refrigerator standards and misapplied to commercial 
applications; and third, that the UL standard reflects 150 grams of 
leakage and 20 grams that remains in the oil and does not leak.
    Response: EPA is finalizing the 150-gram charge size limit as 
proposed for this end-use. This limit is more conservative than the UL 
471 standard, which reflects a leak amount of 150 grams (i.e., not 
counting refrigerant

[[Page 78846]]

solubilized in oil). Unlike the charge limit for the household 
refrigeration end-use, the charge limit for the retail food 
refrigeration end-use does not reflect an additional amount of 
refrigerant assumed to be solubilized in the oil because SNAP 
submitters did not include test data to support this information for 
propane. UL 471 limits the amount of refrigerant leaked to 150 grams, 
based on testing performed during the development of the UL 471 
standard. The commenter provided no test data showing that 20 grams (or 
some alternative amount) would be captured in the oil if the UL 471 
standard were applied. Nor was there evidence that the leak assumptions 
for the household refrigeration end-use (7 of 57 grams solubilized) 
might apply proportionately to other equipment or other refrigerants. 
Therefore, because EPA does not have a sufficient analytic basis to 
derive a 170-gram charge size limit, EPA has no basis to support a 
change to the 150-gram charge size limit we proposed for this end-use.
    Comment: Two commenters also observed that the IEC standards may be 
revised upward in the future, and that EPA's limit should reflect such 
changes.
    Response: The IEC charge size limit has not yet increased and EPA 
cannot anticipate the timing or extent of such an increase. Further, 
EPA has not received any information showing that a larger charge size 
would ensure that propane would present risks in this end-use that are 
lower than or comparable to risks from other potentially available 
substitutes. If the IEC or UL standards are revised in the future or if 
other information becomes available that would support a change in 
charge size, an interested party could petition EPA to revise this 
aspect of the use condition.
    Comment: Another commenter stated that appliances manufactured for 
export should be allowed to have a larger charge size corresponding to 
the charge size requirements that apply at the point of installation. 
The commenter claims that prohibiting a larger charge size for export 
would be a disadvantage for U.S. companies selling appliances overseas.
    Response: Under section 612 of the Clean Air Act, the SNAP program 
is applicable to any person introducing a substitute into interstate 
commerce. Interstate commerce is defined in 40 CFR 82.104(n) as:

    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 the District of Columbia. The entry points 
for which the 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.

    This definition applies to any appliances produced in the U.S., 
including appliances that will be exported. Therefore EPA cannot 
support the comment to apply different use conditions based on where an 
appliance is being exported.
    Comment: One commenter observed that because an appliance might 
have two or more independent refrigeration systems, EPA's charge size 
limitation should apply to each refrigeration system in an appliance 
and not to each appliance.
    Response: EPA received a similar comment with respect to the 
household refrigeration end-use, as described in Section V.D above. As 
was the case for the household refrigeration end-use, EPA agrees that 
the charge size limitation for the retail food refrigeration end-use 
should apply to each sealed system in an appliance. EPA is modifying 
the wording of the use condition to reflect this clarification.

F. Labeling

    EPA received 11 sets of comments on its proposal to require that 
``Danger'' and ``Caution'' labels be permanently attached at specified 
locations on household and retail appliances using hydrocarbon 
refrigerants. The proposed wording was identical to that of UL 250 
Supplement SA (household refrigeration) and UL 471 Supplement SB 
(retail food refrigeration), except that EPA proposed that the 
lettering be \1/4\ inch (6.4 mm) rather than the \1/8\ inch (3.2 mm) 
specified in the UL standards. Seven commenters expressed support for 
the proposed labeling use conditions, including the lettering size.
    Comment: Two commenters stated that EPA and UL should require the 
same print color and size. Another commenter supported the proposal 
except for the language reflecting clause (a) in UL 471 (retail food 
refrigeration) for evaporators that can be contacted by a consumer; the 
comment stated that evaporators are never accessible to a customer in 
units that are ``cold wall design.'' Finally, one commenter 
specifically opposed use of the words ``Danger'' and ``Caution.'' The 
commenter stated that equipment is safe if it meets UL standards, that 
the words would scare consumers, and that service technicians know what 
they are dealing with.
    Response: EPA is finalizing the labeling use condition as proposed 
(with the exception of a minor technical correction to the wording of 
one of the labels, described in Section VI below). EPA believes that 
notification is necessary to alert technicians and personnel who 
dispose of or recycle appliances that a refrigerant has the potential 
to ignite if a sparking source is nearby. This is particularly true 
during the years these products are first introduced into the market 
because most technicians in the U.S., as well as those involved in the 
disposal chain, are not yet familiar with flammable refrigerants.
    EPA consults with UL and other national safety standards as often 
as possible, recognizing that the organizations differ in functions and 
goals. With the exception of the lettering size, EPA is adopting label 
wording and requirements that are identical to those in the UL 250 and 
UL 471 standards. The UL standards include a requirement to label 
evaporators in the retail end-use, and EPA is mirroring that 
requirement, noting that even if a customer does not have access to the 
labeled area, service technicians with such access still need to be 
made aware that a flammable refrigerant is present.
    Regarding the lettering size, EPA continues to believe that it 
would be difficult to see warning labels with the \1/8\-inch lettering 
stipulated by UL 250 and UL 471. Three commenters specifically endorsed 
the \1/4\-inch minimum height proposed, and EPA is finalizing that 
requirement, making it easier for technicians, consumers, retail store-
owners, and emergency first responders to see the warning labels.

G. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping

    EPA received 11 sets of comments on its proposed requirement that 
an appliance containing hydrocarbon refrigerants 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. The color would be required at all service ports 
and where service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the 
refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere would be expected to occur, and 
would extend a minimum of 1 inch in both directions from such 
locations. The proposed rule observed that no industry standard exists 
for color-coded hoses or pipe for flammable refrigerants, and sought 
comment on potential development of such a standard.

[[Page 78847]]

    Three commenters supported the proposed requirement. One of the 
supporting commenters stated that EPA's use condition would also 
suffice in lieu of an industry standard. Other commenters opposed 
various aspects of the color-coding requirement.
    Comment: One commenter stated that mandatory color-coding would 
impose a burdensome additional cost and is not a requirement under 
international standards. A second commenter stated that color-coding 
would be superfluous in light of the proposed labeling requirement. A 
third commenter stated that leak testing requirements obviate the need 
for color-coding. A fourth commenter identified several concerns: that 
hose materials could be potentially incompatible with the paint used, 
that the marking could be obscured by ice or insulation, and that paint 
on heat exchange surfaces could change the thermal resistance and water 
retention properties of the heat exchanger, affecting performance.
    Other commenters recommended a more precise interpretation of the 
requirement to ensure that color-coding need only be provided where 
beneficial and not in locations where system performance could be 
hindered. One commenter observed that coloring all tubing would be 
costly and that locations should be selected that do not present 
problems for sealing of valves or for operational efficiency. Another 
commenter suggested that since UL 471 already requires labels near the 
compressor, coloring would only be necessary at discharge and charge 
locations. The commenter further stated that self-contained units with 
one compressor only need markings at two locations--at the filling tube 
and after the filter dryer (in the flow direction)--because such units 
only use one refrigerant and present no risk of mixing.
    Several commenters observed that an equally effective and less 
costly option for some manufacturers might be to use a colored sleeve 
or cap that must be forcibly removed in order to access the service 
tube. If a manufacturer removed the sleeve or cap during service, a 
similar replacement would be required.
    Response: EPA is finalizing a requirement to use red PMS 
185 coloring on hoses and tubing. This is the same color 
specified in AHRI Guideline N-2008, ``Assignment of Refrigerant 
Container Colors,'' to identify containers of flammable refrigerant, 
such as propane, isobutane, and R-441A (AHRI, 2008). The purpose of the 
colored hoses and tubing in this case is to enable service technicians 
to identify the use of a flammable refrigerant and to take additional 
precautions (e.g., reducing the use of sparking equipment) as 
appropriate to avert accidents, and particularly in the event that 
labels are no longer legible. The air-conditioning and refrigeration 
industry currently uses distinguishing colors to identify different 
refrigerants. Likewise, distinguishing coloring is used elsewhere to 
indicate an unusual and potentially dangerous situation, such as the 
use of orange-insulated wires in hybrid electric vehicles. In the U.S., 
household and retail appliances contain various refrigerants and it is 
not always clear what type of refrigerant an appliance uses.
    Since red coloring is understood to represent ``hot,'' ``stop,'' or 
``danger,'' red coloring will provide technicians, consumers, and 
emergency responders with an unambiguous signal that a potential hazard 
is present. The labeling requirement discussed in Section V.F will 
complement the color-coding requirement by providing a more precise 
warning of the potential hazards and necessary precautions. Further, it 
is possible that labels, particularly those on the outside of the 
appliance, may fall off or become illegible over time; adding red 
coloring on tubing inside the appliance provides additional assurance 
that technicians will be aware that a flammable refrigerant is present.
    In response to concerns about the location of the color-coding, EPA 
is modifying the language for this use condition to reflect its intent 
more precisely. Instead of requiring PMS 185 coloration at all 
locations ``through which the refrigerant passes,'' this final rule 
requires coloration at locations ``through which the refrigerant is 
serviced,'' as well as areas where service puncturing or otherwise 
creating an opening from the refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere 
might be expected. EPA is also clarifying the location and extent of 
the coloring on the hose or process tube (if one exists).\30\ This does 
not mean that the entire hose or process tube must be colored. Rather, 
for process tubes the tube must be colored for at least one inch with 
the red mark to extend from the compressor. This way, if the process 
tube is cut for service, the red marking still remains after the tube 
is welded back together. If further servicing would leave the colored 
portion of the process tube less than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) long, a 
new process tube would be required, with the red marking as described 
above. For other locations--for example, if a service port or 
refrigerant access valve is added to the system \31\--the red mark must 
extend at least 1 inch in all directions from the port or valve.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ A process tube extends from the compressor and is used to 
add or remove refrigerant. After refrigerant is added or removed, 
the process tube is usually pinched to stop refrigerant flow and 
then could be soldered to provide a long-lasting seal. The tube is 
used as an access point for service technicians and does not serve 
any refrigerant-flow or heat transfer purposes.
    \31\ The UL Standards referenced in this rule do not allow the 
inclusion of service ports in finished products using flammable 
refrigerants; however, the coloring use condition would still apply 
if a service port or access valve were added after the product was 
sold.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To clarify that the red coloring must always be present (not just 
applied initially at installation), we are providing more specificity 
in the language of the use condition than proposed. We are changing 
``must be applied'' to ``must be present'' to correct any 
misperceptions that once the coloring is initially placed (``applied'') 
at a location, it need not be replaced if damaged or removed. The word 
``present'' conveys that the red coloring must always be at the 
specified location.
    EPA does not believe that this requirement will impose a burdensome 
additional cost. The only commenter to raise this point did not provide 
any information about what such costs might be and why the commenter 
thought they would be burdensome. In this preamble we are clarifying 
one aspect of flexibility that could mitigate potential cost concerns. 
Specifically, EPA agrees with the commenters' observation that a 
colored sleeve or cap could be equally effective and may offer a less 
costly option for some manufacturers. The proposed rule specified the 
type, location, and dimensions of the coloration but did not specify 
the physical manner in which the tube should be colored. EPA believes 
that the use of a sleeve or cap is consistent with this use condition 
as long as the requirements of the use condition (use of PMS 
185, location, and dimension) are met. However, in order to 
remain in compliance with the use condition, a technician who removes a 
sleeve during servicing is required to replace that sleeve on the 
serviced tube with another. Allowing the use of a sleeve instead of 
paint will also help alleviate the concern expressed by one commenter 
over the potential incompatibility of red paint with hose materials.
    EPA recognizes that labeling is another way to provide warning of 
the presence of a flammable refrigerant, and--as discussed in Section 
V.F above--is finalizing a labeling requirement. However, since over 
time labels can come off or become illegible, labeling should not be 
the sole means of

[[Page 78848]]

alerting users and service technicians of the presence of a flammable 
refrigerant.
    Comment: One commenter supported the proposed color-coding 
requirement but pointed out that the American Academy of Ophthalmology 
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 8 
percent of American males are color-blind, primarily in the colors 
green and red, making the need for labels even more important.
    Response: The Agency recognizes that there is a color-blind 
population. This is one reason to use both labeling and coloring to 
signal that a flammable refrigerant is being used.

H. Unique Fittings

    EPA received 13 sets of comments on its proposed requirement that 
appliances using isobutane or R-441A in household refrigeration and 
propane in retail food refrigeration end-uses have service aperture 
fittings that differ from fittings used in equipment or containers 
using non-flammable refrigerant. The proposed rule defined ``differ'' 
to mean 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 proposed rule specified that 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.
    Comments: Twelve commenters opposed the proposed requirement for 
various combinations of the following reasons: Adding fittings at the 
time of manufacture is not appropriate for certain appliance types; 
additional fittings presents an increased leak risk; the requirement 
could be easily circumvented; the risk of cross-contamination is 
overstated; international standards do not require unique fittings; and 
the requirement would be inconsistent with UL standards. One commenter, 
while neither supporting nor opposing the proposal, stated that if 
unique fittings are installed they should require the use of special 
tools to dissuade unauthorized personnel from opening the fittings.
    Response: EPA is persuaded by the comments opposing a use condition 
to require unique fittings. The Agency is removing the requirement for 
unique fittings from the list of use conditions and is instead 
providing a recommendation for unique fittings in the ``Further 
Information'' column of Appendix R. The following paragraphs describe 
the comments and EPA's response in more detail.
    Comments: Most commenters interpreted the language of the proposed 
requirement to mean that all appliances subject to this rule must be 
manufactured with unique fittings, even appliances that would not 
require servicing and thus would otherwise not need fittings. They 
observed that household and retail appliances, whether they use 
hydrocarbons or another type of refrigerant, typically are hermetically 
sealed and are manufactured without maintenance fittings or service 
valves. They pointed out that any service port with a mechanical 
connection (such as a lock ring) presents a leak risk and that 
requiring additional service ports for the purpose of installing unique 
fittings would add to that risk. One commenter also observed that 
equipment is highly sensitive to charge size and any leak could cause 
malfunction or failure. (The commenter stated that in its past 
experience, three-fourths of service calls were related to service 
ports.) One commenter observed that the presence of service ports could 
create incentives for untrained technicians to attempt servicing. 
Another commenter pointed out that UL 250 and UL 471 prohibit 
refrigerators or freezers that use a flammable refrigerant from 
employing quick-connect fittings, flare fittings, compression fittings, 
or packed stem valves.
    Response: EPA agrees with statements that a service valve installed 
at the point of manufacture could increase the likelihood of leaks for 
these types of appliances. We recognize from the comments that the 
proposed requirement was worded in an overly broad manner. We intended 
the requirement to apply only in cases where a service port or other 
connection is installed subsequent to manufacture. EPA is aware that 
the UL 250 and UL 471 standards forbid such ports at the time of 
manufacture on units using flammable refrigerants. EPA recognizes that 
service ports (whether with standard or unique fittings) are not 
normally used in household refrigerators or stand-alone retail food 
refrigerators and freezers.
    However, CAA 608(b)(2) requires all small appliances containing ODS 
refrigerants to be equipped with service ports that 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. Under 40 CFR 82.154(a)(1), no refrigerant or 
substitute may be knowingly vented unless otherwise exempted. For this 
reason most hermetically sealed appliances are equipped with process 
tubes that are used only for end-of-life recovery and which typically 
do not leak.
    EPA does believe, however, that some hermetically sealed systems 
eventually will be serviced and does not assume that such systems are 
always completely leak-proof. Therefore EPA continues to believe that 
if a service port or access valve is installed after manufacture, it 
should employ a unique fitting that is maintained until the end-of-life 
of the appliance.
    One commenter specifically supported a requirement for unique 
fittings after the equipment is serviced and for the remainder of its 
life. EPA believes that such fittings, if installed, should be designed 
specifically for flammable refrigerants, such that those fittings would 
not connect to service equipment designed for non-flammable 
refrigerants.
    Comment: Several commenters observed that cross-contamination was 
not a significant risk. Two commenters stated that requiring unique 
fittings would not necessarily protect against cross-contamination. One 
commenter stated that mixing of hydrocarbons and other refrigerants 
would not pose a safety concern unless air or oxygen were present. 
Another commenter asserted that since self-contained refrigerant 
systems use only one refrigerant, there is no possibility that an 
appliance would be refilled with an incorrect refrigerant. That 
commenter also stated that proper refrigerant practices are in place 
that require separate recovery cylinders for different refrigerants, 
that technicians need only use one more type of cylinder, and that 
economic incentives can foster proper recovery practices.
    Response: Overall, EPA disagrees with the comment that cross-
contamination is unlikely. Depending on the type of equipment being 
serviced, and its typical servicing patterns, it is quite possible that 
refrigerants could be mixed, particularly where best practices are not 
employed. Currently, many different refrigerants are used in 
refrigerators and freezers. Technicians are likely to encounter 
numerous refrigerants--now including hydrocarbons--raising the 
possibility that flammable refrigerants could be mixed with non-
flammable refrigerants or that flammable refrigerants could be added to 
an appliance designed for non-flammable refrigerants. Not only does the 
mixing of refrigerants pose a risk for the cooling system of the 
appliance, it also can limit reclamation options. Whereas--as observed 
by two commenters--pure refrigerants have market value, contaminated 
refrigerants are costly to re-purify into their individual refrigerant 
components, and costly to discard properly, raising the

[[Page 78849]]

risk of illegal venting. Nevertheless, EPA agrees with the commenters 
that cross-contamination itself does not pose safety issues sufficient 
to warrant a mandatory requirement for unique fittings.
    Comment: Several commenters observed that technicians could defeat 
the intent of the requirement by using other kinds of fittings after 
first service. One commenter stated that service technicians have the 
tools to bypass unique fittings and would do so rather than purchase 
additional gauges and line sets to service the small number of 
hydrocarbon refrigerators. Another stated that most small appliances do 
not have fittings (unique or otherwise) and that technicians and the 
public could use line-piercing fittings if needed.
    Response: EPA understands that a requirement for unique fittings 
would not prevent illegal or improper efforts to service appliances if 
a technician were determined to do so. The ``Further Information'' 
section in the regulation recommends that only technicians specifically 
trained in handling flammable refrigerants service refrigerators and 
freezers containing these refrigerants, and that technicians gain an 
understanding of minimizing the risk of fire and the steps to use 
flammable refrigerants safely. We note that, in addition to preventing 
the mixing of refrigerants, the proposed use condition was intended to 
reduce the risk of fire by ensuring that flammable refrigerants are 
used only in appliances designed for flammable refrigerants. The 
proposed use condition was intended to prevent a technician from 
inadvertently attempting to service a refrigerator as if it contained 
non-flammable refrigerant when it actually contained highly flammable 
hydrocarbon refrigerant, or vice versa.
    Comment: Four commenters stated that education is the best tool to 
prevent refrigerant contamination. One suggested creating a nationwide 
training program; the other, which specializes in training, observed 
that training had proven to be an effective option in lieu of a 
previous proposal to require unique fittings for high-pressure HFC 
refrigerants.
    Response: EPA supports the concept of a national training program 
for flammable refrigerants and welcomes industry efforts to educate 
technicians on proper refrigerant use and proper service and disposal 
practices.

I. Small Containers

    EPA received nine comments on the proposed use condition to limit 
the sale of the hydrocarbon refrigerants in containers designed to hold 
less than five pounds (2.3 kg).\32\ This requirement was intended to 
prevent purchase by untrained people who lack the skills or equipment 
necessary to recover and charge refrigerant properly. Six commenters 
supported the proposed requirement. Other comments are discussed below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ As mentioned previously, the proposed rule inadvertently 
represented 5 pounds as 2.8 kilograms instead of 2.3 kg, which is 
accurate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comment: Three commenters opposed this requirement, stating that a 
small-container sales restriction was not the appropriate vehicle to 
compel proper training. One observed that properly trained technicians 
know how to handle refrigerants safely; another noted that the proposed 
rule protections, such as labeling, would help mitigate the potential 
risk associated with technician error; and the third observed that 
untrained customers can already buy camping gas, which is a flammable 
gas like isobutane.
    In addition, one of the commenters opposing the requirement stated 
that it would pose practicality and logistics problems for its service 
network for household refrigerators. The commenter stated that a five-
pound minimum requirement would result in the transport of more 
combustibles in a service vehicle than needed and that it would be 
preferable to use ``right-sizing'' canisters containing the exact 
charge for the particular appliance to ensure efficient and accurate 
service, to minimize the load a technician needs to carry, and to 
prevent under- and over-charging.
    Response: After considering the comments received, EPA is removing 
the small-container sales restriction from the use conditions. EPA 
agrees that requiring the sale of the three hydrocarbon refrigerants in 
containers of at least five pounds could cause the transport of an 
unnecessary amount of refrigerant and increase risks to service 
technicians and--in the event of a vehicular accident--to others on the 
road. EPA intended the proposed use condition to prevent or minimize 
the purchase of refrigerant by untrained people who would not have the 
appropriate skills or equipment to properly recover or charge the 
refrigerant. However, after considering the comments, EPA recognizes 
that an unintended consequence of restricting smaller-container sales 
is the prospect that appliance owners could purchase non-refrigerant-
grade propane such as camping gas to service their equipment. Non-
refrigerant-grade hydrocarbons could contain contaminants that might 
fail to be absorbed by a filter drier, mix with the oil and cause high 
wear on compressor bearings, or clog heat exchangers and capillary 
tubes. Such events could lead to equipment failure, increased servicing 
need, and more potential emissions of the refrigerant. These effects 
could increase risk to the appliance owner, service technicians, and 
those involved in appliance disposal.
    As discussed in Section V.K of this preamble, EPA agrees with the 
importance of having hydrocarbon refrigerants handled only by trained 
technicians. The listing decisions for these three refrigerants in 
Appendix R to 40 CFR, part 82, subpart G, provide a recommendation that 
only technicians specifically trained in handling flammable 
refrigerants service refrigerators and freezers containing these 
refrigerants. We also include a recommendation that technicians gain an 
understanding of minimizing the risk of fire and the steps to use 
flammable refrigerants safely.

J. Use of Hydrocarbon Refrigerants in Other End-Uses

    Comment: Three commenters requested that isobutane and propane be 
considered for use in both the household refrigeration and retail food 
refrigeration end-uses. Six other commenters specifically requested 
that isobutane be allowed for use in retail food refrigeration. All of 
these commenters reasoned that both refrigerants have similar physical 
characteristics (e.g., flammability limits, toxicity profiles, handling 
practices, safety group classification) and that the UL 250 and UL 471 
standards do not distinguish between them.
    Response: EPA is finalizing acceptability determinations only for 
the substitutes and end-uses identified in submissions to the Agency 
and in the proposed rule: Isobutane and R-441A in the household 
refrigeration end-use, and propane in the retail food refrigeration 
end-use. The submitters did not request review of isobutane or R-441A 
in the retail food refrigeration end-use, or propane in the household 
refrigeration end-use, so EPA did not review those substitutes for 
those end-uses in this rulemaking.
    The SNAP regulations at 40 CFR part 82, subpart G establish a 
process for the submission and review of SNAP applications and the 
finalization of acceptability determinations. EPA makes a listing 
determination after evaluation of the substitute. EPA follows a notice-
and-comment rulemaking process to list substitutes that are proposed as 
acceptable subject to use conditions, acceptable subject to

[[Page 78850]]

narrowed use limits, or unacceptable. Although EPA can issue SNAP 
determinations for substitutes and end-uses that were not provided by 
an applicant, the Agency must perform the same detailed analysis, based 
on the criteria described in the SNAP regulations. EPA would need to 
make a risk screen available to the public through the notice-and-
comment rulemaking process before making a listing decision. If EPA 
were to find those substitutes acceptable in those specific end-uses, 
use conditions would probably be necessary.
    We recognize the stakeholders' interest in using isobutane in the 
retail food refrigeration end-use and propane in the household 
refrigeration end-use. Preliminary information supports the 
observations that the use profiles and handling practices for these 
chemicals in these end-uses are very similar to the combinations of 
substitutes and end-uses being finalized today. EPA may consider a 
subsequent rulemaking addressing the use of isobutane and R-441A in the 
retail food refrigeration end-use, and propane in the household 
refrigeration end-use.
    Comment: One commenter noted that it did not have sufficient 
information on HCR-188C and HCR-188C1 (i.e., R-441A) to recommend their 
approval for the retail food refrigeration end-use. The commenter 
stated, however, that if ASHRAE Standard 34 were to classify those 
hydrocarbon blends as A3 refrigerants then the argument could be made 
that they should be listed in both end-uses.
    Response: In February 2011, ASHRAE issued Addendum g to Standard 
34-2010, classifying R-441A as an A3 refrigerant. We agree that an 
applicant may be able to support a petition to find R-441A acceptable 
subject to use conditions in the retail food refrigeration end-use 
based on our current understanding that R-441A has characteristics that 
are similar to those of propane. However, we do not currently have the 
appropriate technical demonstrations before us to propose, much less 
finalize, such a determination. If in the future a person submits a 
petition supported by a technical demonstration, we could take 
rulemaking action on such a listing.

K. Training

    EPA received eight comments in response to its discussion of 
training in the preamble of the proposed rule. All acknowledged the 
value of training.
    Comment: One commenter recommended against a mandatory national 
training program, observing that in the European Union, where 
hydrocarbon refrigerants are more prevalent, there is no national 
training program and each manufacturer handles training on its own. 
Another commenter, a training organization for technicians, suggested 
that training be a required element of a federal certification of 
technicians. The commenter noted that EPA intends to update the ``test 
bank'' of test questions for technician certification under CAA section 
608, and so the Agency should recognize the merits of incorporating 
hydrocarbon refrigerants into existing programs. This commenter stated 
that without a recertification program, hundreds of thousands of 
technicians will not see the new test questions. Therefore the 
commenter suggested that EPA either create another ``type'' category of 
certification under CAA section 608 addressing flammable refrigerants 
and/or require recertification of technicians every five years because 
of new refrigerants. One commenter stated that EPA should strongly 
consider delaying any SNAP acceptability listing for isobutane until 
such a program can be developed and deployed industry-wide. The 
commenter observed that this could take two years and increase costs to 
consumers.
    Response: EPA agrees that training is an important way for 
technicians to learn about the safe handling of flammable refrigerants. 
We recognize that there are some long-standing training programs on 
flammable refrigerants in other countries where hydrocarbon 
refrigerants are currently in wide use. We also recognize that the use 
of hydrocarbon refrigerants, and training on such use, is in its 
infancy in the U.S., and is generally tied directly to specific 
products or applications, rather than generally to multiple types of 
products.
    Since the inception of the SNAP program and the section 608 
refrigerant management program, we have continued to list a variety of 
new refrigerants as acceptable. EPA has not previously required that 
certified technicians be recertified as a result of the listing of the 
additional refrigerants. Moreover, the goals of the section 608 
technician certification program reflect the need to reduce emissions 
during servicing, maintenance, repair and disposal. They do not 
substitute for the proper training that is normally provided through 
trade schools, apprenticeships, or other industry mechanisms. Given the 
extent of technical knowledge available within the industry, we believe 
that industry is better equipped than EPA to define the specific 
contents of such training, and that it is not necessary for EPA to 
require training in order for newly listed refrigerants to be used as 
safely as other refrigerants currently available.
    Although we have determined not to require training as a use 
condition for these substitutes to ensure that they can be used as 
safely as other available refrigerants, we recommend that technicians 
receive training on the safe handling of hydrocarbon refrigerants 
through avenues such as industry-sponsored national training programs.

L. Other Options Considered

    EPA considered, and sought comment on, several other options or 
related issues in the proposed rule, although we did not propose them. 
This section describes comments the Agency received on those options.
    1. Use only in appliances specific to OEMs. EPA sought comment on 
an option that would allow isobutane and propane as a refrigerant for 
use only in OEM-specific appliances, as described in a SNAP 
application. The reason for such a limitation would be the concern that 
appliances from other manufacturers would not be designed with spark-
proof engineering; nor would the manufacturers be able to develop 
recovery equipment compatible with flammable refrigerants.
    Comment: EPA received two comments supporting EPA's approach to not 
impose such a limitation. One observed that limiting use to SNAP-
reviewed equipment would be time-consuming and costly for all parties 
involved, with little added health and safety benefit.
    Response: EPA agrees that limiting refrigerant use to SNAP-reviewed 
equipment would be time-consuming and costly for all parties involved. 
We believe that adherence to the UL standards and the use conditions in 
this rule will help ensure that equipment is designed to use these 
refrigerants safely, and that use of these substitutes will present 
risks that are lower than or comparable to the risks from other 
potential substitutes. Thus we believe it is not necessary to include 
such a limitation.
    2. Recovery equipment. EPA observed that it had considered 
proposing a use condition requiring that recovery equipment used to 
recapture flammable refrigerants be compatible with flammable 
refrigerants, and sought information on whether there currently is an 
industry standard for recovery units for flammable refrigerants and 
whether specific recovery units are available that are compatible with 
the refrigerants addressed in today's rule.

[[Page 78851]]

    Comment: One commenter stated a belief that there are no known 
manufacturers of recovery equipment for hydrocarbon refrigerants. 
Another commenter stated that recovery equipment used to recover 
flammable refrigerants must be compatible with flammable refrigerants, 
and in the absence of an industry standard, it has developed its own 
service equipment designed to recapture a flammable refrigerant in 
accordance with federal and state regulations. A third commenter 
observed that recovery units are only used in countries like the U.S. 
where venting is not allowed. Finally, one commenter observed that it 
uses a recovery device in its U.S. test market that is specifically 
designed for use with flammable refrigerants.
    Response: The availability of recovery equipment is not necessary 
to ensure that the refrigerant will not pose more risk than other 
available substitutes in this end-use. EPA will continue to assess the 
need for, and availability of, recovery equipment that is compatible 
with flammable refrigerants.
    3. Venting prohibition. EPA sought comment on whether, in a future 
rulemaking, it should consider exempting hydrocarbon refrigerants from 
the section 608 venting prohibition.
    Comment: Several commenters expressed varying levels of support for 
exempting hydrocarbon refrigerants from the venting prohibition. Two 
commenters expressed unequivocal support, and four stated that they 
would support such an exemption if EPA were to confirm there would be 
no health impact. Another commenter asserted that venting would pose 
little environmental impact, comparing the worst-case scenario release 
of 150 grams from retail food refrigeration end-uses, or 57 grams from 
household refrigeration end-uses, to one and one-third pound, 
respectively, of CO2 equivalent. Another commenter stated 
that isobutane is not dangerous, but should not be vented in enclosed 
spaces. Another commenter supported a venting exemption during 
servicing, but advocated recovery at end-of-life due to environmental 
risks associated with the release of refrigerant and oil captured in 
the refrigerant. Finally, a commenter stated that the environmental 
impact from venting such small charges is minimal and that safety 
concerns could be better mitigated through a properly designed and 
executed educational program. One commenter expressed reservations 
about allowing venting, and recommended further assessment of 
flammability risks as well as the potential risk associated with the 
release of synthetic refrigerant oil during venting.
    Response: EPA appreciates the information provided by commenters. 
Venting is addressed by section 608 of the CAA and EPA will develop a 
separate rule under that authority if we determine that hydrocarbon 
refrigerants in the household refrigeration and retail food 
refrigeration end-uses should be exempted from the venting prohibition. 
EPA exercised such authority to exempt hydrocarbons used in industrial 
process refrigeration systems from the venting prohibition (see 69 FR 
11946), but has not made a similar determination for hydrocarbons used 
in household and retail food refrigerators and freezers. Currently, 
EPA's regulations implementing section 608 at subpart F to 40 CFR part 
82 would prohibit venting of isobutane, propane, and R-441A 
refrigerants during service, maintenance, repair, and disposal from the 
end-uses considered in this rule.
    4. Requiring only one use condition. EPA sought comment on an 
approach that it considered (but did not propose): to require that the 
only use condition for each hydrocarbon refrigerant be to meet 
applicable UL 250 and UL 471 standards.
    Comment: EPA received one comment, which opposed such a provision.
    Response: As described above, and consistent with the proposal, EPA 
has not limited the use conditions to compliance with the UL standards.
    5. ``Unacceptable'' finding pending industry-wide servicing 
standards. EPA sought comment on (but did not propose) finding 
hydrocarbon refrigerants unacceptable until an industry-wide standard 
exists for servicing appliances using hydrocarbon refrigerants.
    Comment: EPA received two comments on this issue, one opposing and 
one supporting. Neither commenter provided a rationale for its 
recommendation.
    Response: As described elsewhere, and consistent with the proposal, 
EPA is finding the three hydrocarbon refrigerants acceptable subject to 
use conditions.

M. Other Comments on Proposed Rule

    Comment: In a comment unrelated to the specifics of the proposed 
rule, one commenter recommended consideration of the type of automated 
system it uses on its production line. This system sounds a pre-warning 
alarm when 20 percent of the LFL is reached and shuts down the system 
if 40 percent of the LFL is reached. The commenter noted that this 
system conforms to the European standard and is approved by TUV 
(Technischer [Uuml]berwachungs-Verein (Technical Inspection 
Association)), a German safety monitoring agency.
    Response: EPA does not believe it is necessary to establish a use 
condition requiring the type of system suggested by the commenter. OSHA 
addresses the use of flammable substances in the workplace, including 
through its regulations at 29 CFR 1910.106, as discussed in response to 
other comments below. To the extent a manufacturer believes that 
additional precautions are appropriate, we believe the manufacturer is 
in the best position to determine how to address the risks of 
installing a hydrocarbon refrigerant considering the specific 
characteristics of its production facilities and personnel. We note 
that in addition to OSHA requirements, other forces such as concerns 
for liability; costs of fire and casualty insurance; and reputational 
interests may also dictate a firm's behavior with respect to worker 
health and safety protections.
    This final rule includes, in the ``Further Information'' column of 
Appendix R, recommendations that OEMs institute safety precautions as 
needed in their facilities to address potential hazards in the 
production of appliances using hydrocarbon refrigerants. EPA notes that 
OSHA regulations are in place to address such hazards. The table in 
Appendix M references OSHA requirements at 29 CFR part 1910, including 
those at 29 CFR 1910.106 (flammable and combustible liquids), 1910.110 
(storage and handling of liquefied petroleum gases), and 1910.1000 
(toxic and hazardous substances). Nothing in these final listing 
decisions, including the ``Further Information'' column, supersedes 
other regulations such as these OSHA requirements.
    Comment: Another commenter recommended that the use conditions in 
the final rule address the use of an odorant as a warning agent to 
alert manufacturing personnel or technicians of the presence of a leak. 
Without recommending how the issue should be addressed in this final 
rule, the commenter offered the following observations:
     Technicians or manufacturers may use mercaptan as an odor 
warning agent;
     Mercaptan is corrosive and is removed by filters and 
driers in refrigeration systems;
     Refrigerant classification standards for Australia and New 
Zealand require that Group A3 refrigerants be odorized

[[Page 78852]]

or subject to alternative safety provisions.
    Response: EPA agrees that odorization is one way to alert 
manufacturing or servicing personnel of the presence of a hydrocarbon 
refrigerant. EPA's risk screen did not evaluate these refrigerants with 
the addition of an odorant, nor did our proposed rule address odorants 
in its discussion of refrigerant composition or in its proposed use 
conditions. Today's final rule does not prohibit the introduction of an 
odorant into isobutane, propane, or R-441A refrigerant as long as the 
refrigerant remains within purity specifications. The use conditions in 
today's final rule, such as red coloring and adherence to UL standards, 
provide ample safeguards to alert manufacturers, service personnel, and 
customers of the presence of a flammable refrigerant.

VI. What other changes is EPA making in the final rule?

    In addition to changes made in response to comments, as described 
in Section V above, EPA is making the following minor changes:

A. Propane as Substitute for R-502

    EPA is revising the wording in the Appendix R table to correct a 
typographical error. As discussed above, this final rule lists propane 
as acceptable subject to use conditions as a substitute for CFC-12, 
HCFC-22, and R-502 in the retail food refrigeration end-use. In the 
NPRM, the proposed Appendix R table erroneously omitted R-502 (a blend 
of HCFC-22 and CFC-115) from the listing, although it was included in 
the preamble discussion. This final rule corrects the error by 
including R-502 as one of the refrigerants for which propane is listed 
as a substitute in the retail food refrigeration end-use.

B. Wording of Use Conditions for Labeling

    The use conditions in the proposed rule included requirements for 
marking (e.g., labeling) of appliances using isobutane and HCR-188C1 
(i.e., R-441A) in the household refrigeration end-use, and propane in 
the retail food refrigeration end-use. EPA intended that language to 
mirror that of the UL standards. We are making two minor changes to 
this requirement.
    First, we are restructuring the language for the requirement. The 
language of the proposed rule first listed the wording required for 
five different types of labels, and then described where each of the 
labels was to be placed. For the final rule, we have moved the location 
requirements, so they are specified immediately before the 
corresponding label wording. EPA believes this minor revision in the 
regulatory language provides more clarity and makes the use condition 
easier to implement.
    Second, EPA is making a minor technical correction to the wording 
of one of the labels. In the proposed rule, one of the labels was to 
read as follows:
    ``(b) Near the machine compartment: ``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.''

The phrase ``Do Not Use Mechanical Devices'' was included erroneously 
in the proposed requirement. EPA recognizes that trained personnel may 
need to use mechanical devices to service the machine compartment. We 
have removed that phrase from the use condition in the final listing 
decision, making the condition consistent with the UL 250 and UL 471 
requirements.

C. ``Further Information'' Column in Listing Decisions

    EPA is also modifying the recommendations listed under ``Further 
Information'' to more appropriately cross-reference existing OSHA 
regulations and to avoid confusion about the relationship between EPA 
and OSHA requirements.
    The proposed rule contained, under ``Further Information,'' the 
following recommendations:
     Technicians and equipment manufacturers should wear 
appropriate personal protective equipment, 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.
     A class B dry powder type fire extinguisher should be kept 
nearby.
     Proper ventilation should be maintained at all times 
during the manufacture of appliances containing hydrocarbon refrigerant 
through adherence to good manufacturing practices as per 29 CFR 
1910.110.\33\ If refrigerant levels in the air surrounding the 
equipment rise above one-fourth of the lower flammability limit, the 
space should be evacuated, and re-entry should only occur after the 
space has been properly ventilated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ OSHA regulations at 29 CFR 1910.110 consider ventilation 
adequate ``when the concentration of the gas in a gas-air mixture 
does not exceed 25 percent of the lower flammable limit.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Technicians should only use spark-proof tools when working 
refrigerators and freezers with R-600a, HCR-188C, and HCR-188C1.
     Recovery equipment designed for flammable refrigerants 
should be used.
     Only technicians specifically trained in handling 
flammable 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.
     Room occupants should evacuate the space immediately 
following the accidental release of this refrigerant.
    The Agency did not receive any comments on these recommendations. 
EPA believes that they are appropriate and that they serve as useful 
reminders of safe practices for technicians and manufacturers. EPA 
recognizes that some of these recommendations are reflected in OSHA 
regulations for worker health and safety. For this reason, EPA is 
adding a cross-reference to OSHA regulations at 29 CFR part 1910 
(Occupational Health and Safety Standards) in order to ensure that 
regulated entities are aware of these requirements. Specifically, 
Appendix R provides a cross-reference to 29 CFR 1910.106 (flammable and 
combustible liquids), 1910.110 (storage and handling of liquefied 
petroleum gases), 1910.157 (portable fire extinguishers), and 1910.1000 
(toxic and hazardous substances).

VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    Under Executive Order 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 Executive Orders 12866

[[Page 78853]]

and 13563 (76 FR 3821, January 21, 2011) 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 final rule is an Agency determination. It contains no new 
requirements for reporting. 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

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (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 Small Business 
Administration 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 final rule on small 
entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In 
determining whether a rule has a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, the impact of concern is any 
significant adverse economic impact on small entities, since the 
primary purpose of the regulatory flexibility analyses is to identify 
and address regulatory alternatives ``which minimize any significant 
economic impact of the rule on small entities.'' 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604. 
Thus, an agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule 
relieves regulatory burden, or otherwise has a positive economic effect 
on all of the small entities subject to the rule. The requirements of 
this final rule affect the manufacturers of household refrigerators and 
freezers and retail food refrigerators and freezers. Today's action 
allows users the additional options of using isobutane, propane, and R-
441A, but does not mandate such use. Because isobutane, propane, and R-
441A refrigeration systems are not yet manufactured in the U.S. (with 
the exception of limited test-marketing), and because the final rule 
actually imposes fewer requirements than the proposed rule (i.e., 
removal of the unique fittings requirement), manufacturers would not be 
required to change business practices to meet the use conditions and 
thus the rule would not impose any new costs on small entities.

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 final rule related to 
integrating risk mitigation devices, markings, and procedures for 
maintaining the safety of household refrigerators and freezers and 
retail food refrigerators and freezers using hydrocarbon refrigerants 
affect only small number of manufacturers of these appliances and their 
technicians. This rule provides additional refrigerant options, 
allowing greater flexibility for industry in designing consumer 
products. Further, since appliances using hydrocarbon refrigerants are 
not yet widely produced in the U.S., we do not expect impacts on 
existing users. Thus this rule is not subject to the requirements of 
sections 202 or 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 finding of 
``acceptability subject to use conditions'' for isobutane, propane, and 
R-441A does not impact the private sector because manufacturers are not 
producing systems under the current regulation. This final 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.

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. 
Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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 Executive Order 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 final rule provides both 
regulatory restrictions and recommended guidelines based upon risk 
screens conducted in order to reduce risk of fire and explosion.

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

[[Page 78854]]

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 appliances using 
these hydrocarbon refrigerants may be more energy-efficient than 
currently available systems in some climates. Therefore, 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 final rule involves incorporation by reference of technical 
standards issued by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) concerning the 
safety and reliability of flammable refrigerants. UL standards are 
voluntary consensus standards. The use conditions in the rule require, 
for the household refrigeration end-use, adherence to the UL Standard 
for Household Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 250, 10th edition, 1993, 
updated August 2000. The use conditions also require, for the retail 
food refrigeration end-use, adherence to the UL Standard for Commercial 
Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 471, 10th edition, November 2010. Copies 
of UL 250 and UL 471 may be purchased at http://ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com/.

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

    Executive Order 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 final 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 minority or low-
income population. This final rule would allow sale of appliances with 
refrigerant substitutes that have no ODP and low GWPs. The reduction in 
ODS and GHG emissions would assist in restoring the stratospheric ozone 
layer and provide climate benefits.

K. Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally 
provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating 
the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, 
to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the 
United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other 
required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of 
Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior 
to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot 
take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal 
Register.
    This action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). 
This rule will be effective February 21, 2012.

VIII. References

    This preamble references the following documents, which are also in 
the Air and Radiation Docket at the address listed in Section I.B.1. 
Unless specified otherwise, all documents are available electronically 
through the Federal Docket Management System, Docket  EPA-HQ-
OAR-2009-0286.

ACRIB, 2001. Guidelines for the Use of Hydrocarbon Refrigerants in 
Static Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems. Air Conditioning 
and Refrigeration Industry Board. 2001.
A.D. Little, 1991. Risk Assessment of Flammable Refrigerants for Use 
in Home Appliances (draft report). Arthur D. Little, Inc., for EPA, 
Division of Global Change. September 10, 1991. Docket item EPA-HQ-
OAR-2009-0286-0023.
A.D. Little, 2002. Global Comparative Analysis of HFC and 
Alternative Technologies for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Foam, 
Solvent, Aerosol Propellant, and Fire Protection Applications. Final 
Report to the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, March 21, 
2002. Available online at http://www.arap.org/adlittle/4.html. 
Accessed on October 13, 2011.
AHRI, 2008. Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, 
AHRI Guideline N-2008: Assignment of Refrigerant Colors. 2008.
ASHRAE, 2010. American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/American 
Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers 
(ASHRAE). Standard 34-2010: Designation and Safety Classification of 
Refrigerants. 2010. (Supersedes ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2007.)
A.S. Trust & Holdings, Inc., 2007. Significant New Alternatives 
Policy Program Submission to the United States Environmental 
Protection Agency. June 2007.
A.S. Trust & Holdings, Inc., 2009. HCR-188C New Composition. Follow-
up to the HCR-188C Significant New Alternatives Policy Program 
Submission to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 
August 2009.
Ben and Jerry's, 2008. Ben and Jerry's/Unilever, Significant New 
Alternatives Policy Program Submission to the United States 
Environmental Protection Agency, October 2008.
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.
GE, 2008. General Electric. Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program Submission to the United States Environmental Protection 
Agency, October 2008.
Greenpeace, 1997. ``Greenfreeze A Revolution in Domestic 
Refrigeration.'' Available online at http://archive.greenpeace.org/ozone/greenfreeze/. Accessed on October 13, 2011.
ICF, 1997. ICF Consulting. Physiological Effects of Alternative Fire 
Protection Agents--Hypoxic Atmospheres Conference. Proceedings of 
the conference held May 22, 1997 in New London, CT.
ICF, 2009a. 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, 2009b. 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, 2009c. 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, 
Freezers and Window AC Units--Substitute: HCR-188C.'' July 17, 2009.

[[Page 78855]]

ICF, 2009d. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program--Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12 and HCFC-22 in Household Refrigerators and 
Freezers--Substitute: HCR-188C1.'' November 6, 2009.
ICF, 2011a. ICF Consulting. ``Significant New Alternatives Policy 
Program Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector--Risk Screen on 
Substitutes for CFC-12 and HCFC-22 in Household Refrigerators and 
Household Freezers--Substitute: Isobutane.'' June 2011.
ICF, 2011b. 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.'' June 2011.
ICF, 2011c. 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: R-441.'' June 2011.
ICF, 2011d. ICF Consulting. ``Additional end-use modeling for 
household refrigerators and freezers.'' July 2011.
IPCC/TEAP, 2005. Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate 
System: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change. Edited by Bert Metz, Lambert Kuijpers, Susan Solomon, 
Stephen O. Andersen, Ogunlade Davidson, Jose Pons, David de Jager, 
Tahl Kestin, Martin Manning and Leo Meyer. Cambridge University 
Press. 2005. Available online at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/sroc/sroc_full.pdf.
Murray, D.M. 1997. ``Residential House and Zone Volumes in the 
United States: Empirical and Estimated Parametric Distributions.'' 
Risk Analysis. 17(4): 439-446.
ORNL, 1997. J. Sand, S. Fischer, and V. Baxter, ``Energy and Global 
Warming Impacts of HFC Refrigerants and Emerging Technologies,'' 
1997, Oak Ridge National Lab.
RTOC, 2010. The 2010 Report of the United Nations Environment 
Programme (UNEP)'s Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps 
Technical Options Committee (RTOC). Available online at http://ozone.unep.org/teap/Reports/RTOC/RTOC-Assessment-report-2010.pdf.
TEAP, 2010. United Nations Environment Programme. Report of the 
Technology and Economic Assessment Panel. Available online at http://ozone.unep.org/teap/Reports/TEAP_Reports/teap-2010-progress-report-volume2-May2010.pdf.
UL, 2000. UL 250: Household Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th 
edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers 
Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. 
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. August 25, 2000.
UL, 2010. UL 471. Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th 
edition. Supplement SB: Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers 
Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. 
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. November 24, 2010.
World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2011. WMO Scientific 
Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010. Available online at http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/Scientific_Assessment_2010/index.shtml.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

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

    Dated: December 9, 2011.
Lisa P. Jackson,
Administrator.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, EPA is amending 40 CFR 
part 82 as follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

0
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

0
2. Subpart G is amended by adding Appendix R to read as follows:

Appendix R to Subpart G of Part 82--Substitutes Subject to Use 
Restrictions Listed in the December 20, 2011 Final Rule, Effective 
February 21, 2012

                            Substitutes That Are Acceptable Subject to Use Conditions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Further
             End-use                  Substitute           Decision         Use conditions        information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Household refrigerators,          Isobutane (R-600a)  Acceptable Subject  These refrigerants  Applicable OSHA
 freezers, and combination         as a substitute     To Use Conditions.  may be used only    requirements at
 refrigerators and freezers.       for CFC-12 and                          in new equipment    29 CFR part 1910
(New equipment only)............   HCFC-22.                                designed            must be followed,
                                  R-441A as a                              specifically and    including those
                                   substitute for                          clearly             at 29 CFR
                                   CFC-12 and HCFC-                        identified for      1910.106
                                   22.                                     the refrigerant     (flammable and
                                                                           (i.e., none of      combustible
                                                                           these substitutes   liquids),
                                                                           may be used as a    1910.110 (storage
                                                                           conversion or       and handling of
                                                                           ``retrofit''        liquefied
                                                                           refrigerant for     petroleum gases),
                                                                           existing            1910.157
                                                                           equipment           (portable fire
                                                                           designed for a      extinguishers),
                                                                           different           and 1910.1000
                                                                           refrigerant)        (toxic and
                                                                          These refrigerants   hazardous
                                                                           may be used only    substances).
                                                                           in a refrigerator  Proper ventilation
                                                                           or freezer, or      should be
                                                                           combination         maintained at all
                                                                           refrigerator and    times during the
                                                                           freezer, that       manufacture and
                                                                           meets all           storage of
                                                                           requirements        equipment
                                                                           listed in           containing
                                                                           Supplement SA to    hydrocarbon
                                                                           the 10th edition    refrigerants
                                                                           of the              through adherence
                                                                           Underwriters        to good
                                                                           Laboratories (UL)   manufacturing
                                                                           Standard for        practices as per
                                                                           Household           29 CFR 1910.106.
                                                                           Refrigerators and   If refrigerant
                                                                           Freezers, UL 250,   levels in the air
                                                                           dated 1993          surrounding the
                                                                           updated August      equipment rise
                                                                           2000. In cases      above one-fourth
                                                                           where the final     of the lower
                                                                           rule includes       flammability
                                                                           requirements more   limit, the space
                                                                           stringent than      should be
                                                                           those of the 10th   evacuated and re-
                                                                           edition of UL       entry should
                                                                           250, the            occur only after
                                                                           appliance must      the space has
                                                                           meet the            been properly
                                                                           requirements of     ventilated.
                                                                           the final rule in  Technicians and
                                                                           place of the        equipment
                                                                           requirements in     manufacturers
                                                                           the UL Standard.    should wear
                                                                          The quantity of      appropriate
                                                                           the substitute      personal
                                                                           refrigerant         protective
                                                                           (i.e., ``charge     equipment,
                                                                           size'') shall not   including
                                                                           exceed 57 grams     chemical goggles
                                                                           (2.0 ounces) in     and protective
                                                                           any refrigerator,   gloves, when
                                                                           freezer, or         handling
                                                                           combination         isobutane and R-
                                                                           refrigerator and    441A. Special
                                                                           freezer for each    care should be
                                                                           circuit.            taken to avoid
                                                                                               contact with the
                                                                                               skin since these
                                                                                               refrigerants,
                                                                                               like many
                                                                                               refrigerants, can
                                                                                               cause freeze
                                                                                               burns on the
                                                                                               skin.

[[Page 78856]]

 
                                                                                              A class B dry
                                                                                               powder type fire
                                                                                               extinguisher
                                                                                               should be kept
                                                                                               nearby.
                                                                                              Technicians should
                                                                                               only use spark-
                                                                                               proof tools when
                                                                                               working on
                                                                                               refrigerators and
                                                                                               freezers with
                                                                                               isobutane and R-
                                                                                               441A.
                                                                                              Recovery equipment
                                                                                               designed for
                                                                                               flammable
                                                                                               refrigerants
                                                                                               should be used.
                                                                                              Only technicians
                                                                                               specifically
                                                                                               trained in
                                                                                               handling
                                                                                               flammable
                                                                                               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.
Household refrigerators,          Isobutane (R-600a)  Acceptable Subject  As provided in      Room occupants
 freezers, and combination         as a substitute     To Use Conditions.  clauses SA6.1.1     should evacuate
 refrigerators and freezers.       for CFC-12 and                          and SA6.1.2 of UL   the space
(New equipment only)............   HCFC-22.                                Standard 250, the   immediately
                                  R-441A as a                              following           following the
                                   substitute for                          markings shall be   accidental
                                   CFC-12 and HCFC-                        attached at the     release of this
                                   22.                                     locations           refrigerant.
                                                                           provided and       If a service port
                                                                           shall be            is added then
                                                                           permanent:          household
                                                                          (a) On or near any   refrigerators,
                                                                           evaporators that    freezers, and
                                                                           can be contacted    combination
                                                                           by the consumer:    refrigerator and
                                                                           ``DANGER-Risk of    freezers using
                                                                           Fire or             these
                                                                           Explosion.          refrigerants
                                                                           Flammable           should have
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.   service aperture
                                                                           Do Not Use          fittings that
                                                                           Mechanical          differ from
                                                                           Devices To          fittings used in
                                                                           Defrost             equipment or
                                                                           Refrigerator. Do    containers using
                                                                           Not Puncture        non-flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant         refrigerant.
                                                                           Tubing.''.          ``Differ'' means
                                                                          (b) Near the         that either the
                                                                           machine             diameter differs
                                                                           compartment:        by at least 1/16
                                                                           ``DANGER-Risk of    inch or the
                                                                           Fire or             thread direction
                                                                           Explosion.          is reversed
                                                                           Flammable           (i.e., right-
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.   handed vs. left-
                                                                           To Be Repaired      handed). These
                                                                           Only By Trained     different
                                                                           Service             fittings should
                                                                           Personnel. Do Not   be permanently
                                                                           Puncture            affixed to the
                                                                           Refrigerant         unit at the point
                                                                           Tubing.''.          of service and
                                                                          (c) Near the         maintained until
                                                                           machine             the end-of-life
                                                                           compartment:        of the unit, and
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk     should not be
                                                                           of Fire or          accessed with an
                                                                           Explosion.          adaptor.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.
                                                                           Consult Repair
                                                                           Manual/Owner's
                                                                           Guide Before
                                                                           Attempting To
                                                                           Service This
                                                                           Product. All
                                                                           Safety
                                                                           Precautions Must
                                                                           be Followed.''.
                                                                          (d) On the
                                                                           exterior of the
                                                                           refrigerator:
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk
                                                                           of Fire or
                                                                           Explosion.
                                                                           Dispose of
                                                                           Properly In
                                                                           Accordance With
                                                                           Federal Or Local
                                                                           Regulations.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Used.''
                                                                          (e) Near any and
                                                                           all exposed
                                                                           refrigerant
                                                                           tubing:
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk
                                                                           of Fire or
                                                                           Explosion Due To
                                                                           Puncture Of
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Tubing; Follow
                                                                           Handling
                                                                           Instructions
                                                                           Carefully.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Used.''
                                                                          All of these
                                                                           markings shall be
                                                                           in letters no
                                                                           less than 6.4 mm
                                                                           (\1/4\ inch)
                                                                           high.
                                                                          The refrigerator,
                                                                           freezer, or
                                                                           combination
                                                                           refrigerator and
                                                                           freezer must have
                                                                           red, Pantone[reg]
                                                                           Matching System
                                                                           (PMS) 185 marked
                                                                           pipes, hoses, or
                                                                           other devices
                                                                           through which the
                                                                           refrigerant is
                                                                           serviced
                                                                           (typically known
                                                                           as the service
                                                                           port) to indicate
                                                                           the use of a
                                                                           flammable
                                                                           refrigerant. This
                                                                           color must be
                                                                           present at all
                                                                           service ports and
                                                                           where service
                                                                           puncturing or
                                                                           otherwise
                                                                           creating an
                                                                           opening from the
                                                                           refrigerant
                                                                           circuit to the
                                                                           atmosphere might
                                                                           be expected
                                                                           (e.g., process
                                                                           tubes). The color
                                                                           mark must extend
                                                                           at least 2.5
                                                                           centimeters (1
                                                                           inch) from the
                                                                           compressor and
                                                                           must be replaced
                                                                           if removed.

[[Page 78857]]

 
Retail food refrigerators and     Propane (R-290) as  Acceptable subject  These refrigerants  Applicable OSHA
 freezers (stand-alone units       a substitute for    to use conditions.  may be used only    requirements at
 only).                            CFC-12, HCFC-22,                        in new equipment    29 CFR part 1910
(New equipment only)............   and R-502.                              specifically        must be followed,
                                                                           designed and        including those
                                                                           clearly             at 29 CFR 1910.94
                                                                           identified for      (ventilation) and
                                                                           the refrigerants    1910.106
                                                                           (i.e., none of      (flammable and
                                                                           these substitutes   combustible
                                                                           may be used as a    liquids),
                                                                           conversion or       1910.110 (storage
                                                                           ``retrofit''        and handling of
                                                                           refrigerant for     liquefied
                                                                           existing            petroleum gases),
                                                                           equipment           and 1910.1000
                                                                           designed for        (toxic and
                                                                           other               hazardous
                                                                           refrigerants).      substances).
                                                                          These substitutes   Proper ventilation
                                                                           may only be used    should be
                                                                           in equipment that   maintained at all
                                                                           meets all           times during the
                                                                           requirements in     manufacture and
                                                                           Supplement SB to    storage of
                                                                           the 10th edition    equipment
                                                                           of the              containing
                                                                           Underwriters        hydrocarbon
                                                                           Laboratories (UL)   refrigerants
                                                                           Standard for        through adherence
                                                                           Commercial          to good
                                                                           Refrigerators and   manufacturing
                                                                           Freezers, UL 471,   practices as per
                                                                           dated November      29 CFR 1910.106.
                                                                           2010. In cases      If refrigerant
                                                                           where the final     levels in the air
                                                                           rule includes       surrounding the
                                                                           requirements more   equipment rise
                                                                           stringent than      above one-fourth
                                                                           those of the 10th   of the lower
                                                                           edition of UL       flammability
                                                                           471, the            limit, the space
                                                                           appliance must      should be
                                                                           meet the            evacuated and re-
                                                                           requirements of     entry should
                                                                           the final rule in   occur only after
                                                                           place of the        the space has
                                                                           requirements in     been properly
                                                                           the UL Standard..   ventilated.
                                                                          The charge size     Technicians and
                                                                           for the retail      equipment
                                                                           food refrigerator   manufacturers
                                                                           or freezer shall    should wear
                                                                           not exceed 150      appropriate
                                                                           grams (5.3          personal
                                                                           ounces) in each     protective
                                                                           circuit..           equipment,
                                                                                               including
                                                                                               chemical goggles
                                                                                               and protective
                                                                                               gloves, when
                                                                                               handling propane.
                                                                                               Special care
                                                                                               should be taken
                                                                                               to avoid contact
                                                                                               with the skin
                                                                                               since propane,
                                                                                               like many
                                                                                               refrigerants, can
                                                                                               cause freeze
                                                                                               burns on the
                                                                                               skin.
                                                                                              A class B dry
                                                                                               powder type fire
                                                                                               extinguisher
                                                                                               should be kept
                                                                                               nearby.
                                                                                              Technicians should
                                                                                               only use spark-
                                                                                               proof tools when
                                                                                               working on
                                                                                               refrigerators and
                                                                                               freezers with
                                                                                               propane.
                                                                                              Recovery equipment
                                                                                               designed for
                                                                                               flammable
                                                                                               refrigerants
                                                                                               should be used.
                                                                                              Only technicians
                                                                                               specifically
                                                                                               trained in
                                                                                               handling
                                                                                               flammable
                                                                                               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.
Retail food refrigerators and     Propane (R-290) as  Acceptable subject  As provided in      Room occupants
 freezers (stand-alone units       a substitute for    to use conditions.  clauses SB6.1.2     should evacuate
 only).                            CFC-12, HCFC-22,                        to SB6.1.5 of UL    the space
(New equipment only)............   and R-502.                              Standard 471, the   immediately
                                                                           following           following the
                                                                           markings shall be   accidental
                                                                           attached at the     release of this
                                                                           locations           refrigerant.
                                                                           provided and       If a service port
                                                                           shall be            is added then
                                                                           permanent:          household
                                                                          (a) Attach on or     refrigerators,
                                                                           near any            freezers, and
                                                                           evaporators that    combination
                                                                           can be contacted    refrigerator and
                                                                           by the consumer:    freezers using
                                                                           ``DANGER-Risk of    these
                                                                           Fire or             refrigerants
                                                                           Explosion.          should have
                                                                           Flammable           service aperture
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.   fittings that
                                                                           Do Not Use          differ from
                                                                           Mechanical          fittings used in
                                                                           Devices To          equipment or
                                                                           Defrost             containers using
                                                                           Refrigerator. Do    non-flammable
                                                                           Not Puncture        refrigerant.
                                                                           Refrigerant         ``Differ'' means
                                                                           Tubing.''.          that either the
                                                                          (b) Attach near      diameter differs
                                                                           the machine         by at least 1/16
                                                                           compartment:        inch or the
                                                                           ``DANGER-Risk of    thread direction
                                                                           Fire or             is reversed
                                                                           Explosion.          (i.e., right-
                                                                           Flammable           handed vs. left-
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.   handed). These
                                                                           To Be Repaired      different
                                                                           Only By Trained     fittings should
                                                                           Service             be permanently
                                                                           Personnel. Do Not   affixed to the
                                                                           Puncture            unit at the point
                                                                           Refrigerant         of service and
                                                                           Tubing.''.          maintained until
                                                                          (c) Attach near      the end-of-life
                                                                           the machine         of the unit, and
                                                                           compartment:        should not be
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk     accessed with an
                                                                           of Fire or          adaptor.
                                                                           Explosion.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant Used.
                                                                           Consult Repair
                                                                           Manual/Owner's
                                                                           Guide Before
                                                                           Attempting To
                                                                           Service This
                                                                           Product. All
                                                                           Safety
                                                                           Precautions Must
                                                                           be Followed.''.
                                                                          (d) Attach on the
                                                                           exterior of the
                                                                           refrigerator:
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk
                                                                           of Fire or
                                                                           Explosion.
                                                                           Dispose of
                                                                           Properly In
                                                                           Accordance With
                                                                           Federal Or Local
                                                                           Regulations.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Used.''
                                                                          (e) Attach near
                                                                           any and all
                                                                           exposed
                                                                           refrigerant
                                                                           tubing:
                                                                           ``CAUTION--Risk
                                                                           of Fire or
                                                                           Explosion Due To
                                                                           Puncture Of
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Tubing; Follow
                                                                           Handling
                                                                           Instructions
                                                                           Carefully.
                                                                           Flammable
                                                                           Refrigerant
                                                                           Used.''
                                                                          All of these
                                                                           markings shall be
                                                                           in letters no
                                                                           less than 6.4 mm
                                                                           (\1/4\ inch)
                                                                           high.

[[Page 78858]]

 
                                                                          The refrigerator
                                                                           or freezer must
                                                                           have red,
                                                                           Pantone[supreg]
                                                                           Matching System
                                                                           (PMS) 185 marked
                                                                           pipes, hoses, and
                                                                           other devices
                                                                           through which the
                                                                           refrigerant is
                                                                           serviced,
                                                                           typically known
                                                                           as the service
                                                                           port, to indicate
                                                                           the use of a
                                                                           flammable
                                                                           refrigerant. This
                                                                           color must be
                                                                           present at all
                                                                           service ports and
                                                                           where service
                                                                           puncturing or
                                                                           otherwise
                                                                           creating an
                                                                           opening from the
                                                                           refrigerant
                                                                           circuit to the
                                                                           atmosphere might
                                                                           be expected
                                                                           (e.g., process
                                                                           tubes). The color
                                                                           mark must extend
                                                                           at least 2.5
                                                                           centimeters (1
                                                                           inch) from the
                                                                           compressor and
                                                                           must be replaced
                                                                           if removed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.).
Note: The use conditions in this appendix contain references to certain standards from Underwriters Laboratories
  Inc. (UL). The standards are incorporated by reference, and the referenced sections are made part of the
  regulations in part 82:
1. UL 250: Household Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerators and
  Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. August
  25, 2000.
2. UL 471. Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. Supplement SB: Requirements for Refrigerators
  and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
  November 24, 2010.
The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)
  and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of UL Standards 250 and 471 may be purchased by mail at: COMM 2000; 151 Eastern
  Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: 2000.com">orders@comm-2000.com; Telephone: 1 (888) 853-3503 in the U.S. or Canada
  (other countries dial +1 (415) 352-2168); Internet address: http://ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com/ or www.comm-
  2000.com.
You may inspect a copy at U.S. EPA's Air and Radiation Docket; EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution
  Ave. NW., Washington DC or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For questions regarding
  access to these standards, the telephone number of EPA's Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742. For
  information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.


[FR Doc. 2011-32175 Filed 12-19-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P