Ontario, Manitoba eye ban on CFCs in air conditioners

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TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario and Manitoba plan to will ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in truck and car air conditioners due to the damage they’re doing to the ozone layer.

As of Jan. 1, 2002, cars in Ontario made before 1996 will no longer be able to refill or recharge their air conditioners with coolant that contains ozone-depleting CFCs.

“CFC-based refrigerants are some of the most ozone-depleting substances in existence,” says Elizabeth Witmer, the Ontario Environment Minister. “If you ran your CFC-filled air conditioner on an extremely hot and smoggy day you would, of course, be contributing to the problem.”

A little further west manager of air quality, David Bezak, tells local media that Manitoba plans to follow Ontario’s example. While he would not confirm an implementation date, he did suggest refrigeration trucks and farm equipment will not likely be governed by the incoming rules in Manitoba.

According to the Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association, violators in Manitoba will face fines of up to $50,000 or six months in prison. CFCs have not been produced in developed countries since 1995, but are still used in about half of Ontario’s five million cars.

Converting a vehicle’s air conditioner to one that uses so-called ozone-friendly coolants will cost the owner about $320. That’s about the cost of one refill of the expensive and dwindling stock of the soon-to-be banned coolant, says Witmer in justifying the move.

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