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EPA backs clean air conditioner chemical

March 1, 2011 at 7:21 AM

WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- U.S. environmental regulators announced they approved a new type of coolant for air conditioners in cars that doesn't deplete the ozone layer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its approval for a chemical developed by Honeywell and DuPont for cars and light trucks that is cleaner than conventional refrigerants.

"When used appropriately, this chemical can reduce the environmental impact of motor vehicle air conditioners and has a global warming potential that is 99.7 percent less than the current chemical used in most car air conditioners," the EPA said in a statement.

Automobiles had generally used chlorofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas that is known to deplete the ozone layer. Honeywell said the new chemical has an atmospheric life span of 11 days, compared with 500 years for the conventional refrigerant.

"This new chemical helps fight climate change and ozone depletion," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's office of air and radiation, in a statement. "It is homegrown innovative solutions like this that save lives and strengthen our economy."

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