Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies for ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbon substances.
EPA took the action on the replacement substitutes following requests from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., General Electric Co. and several small businesses.
The three hydrocarbon refrigerants approved as acceptable substitutes, with use conditions, are propane, isobutane, and a chemical known as R-441A, the EPA said in a release Wednesday.
"Today's action is a great example of how businesses and EPA can work together to protect our planet and drive innovation," Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said. "This action increases the options for effective, climate-friendly refrigerants in the United States."
Replacing older refrigerants will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 660,000 tons by 2020, the EPA said.