REACH regulation: the restrictions proposed by five European states concern many alternative refrigerants

The European Chemicals Agency has been reviewing the proposed restrictions on PFAS, including some refrigerants, since February 7. 

The European REACH regulation has been regularly mentioned in the refrigeration press in recent weeks. Indeed, it came into force in 2007, but a draft update has been underway for several months, and is regularly postponed. 
Last January, five countries made a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to amend the REACH regulation: it aims to reduce the emissions of PFAS (Per- and PolyFluoroAlkyl Substances) into the environment, which concerns HFCs and HFOs
The details of this proposal are now online. 
ECHA is now examining this proposal, which could ban 5 single component refrigerants: 


  • HFCs: R134a and R125, already targeted by the Kigali Amendment 
  • HFO: R1234yf, R1234ze(E) and R1233zd(E). These are currently used as an alternative to HFCs, and to meet the requirements of the Kigali Amendment. 


But this ban is likely to affect the vast majority of alternative low-GWP refrigerant blends using any of these components. On the other hand, R32 and R152a are excluded from this proposal. 
This proposal, if accepted, would enter into force in 2025. It also proposes an 18-month transition period and a 12-year exemption for maintenance and refilling and recharging of existing refrigeration equipment where alternatives are not available. 


Exemptions are also proposed for low temperature refrigeration applications and refrigerants in laboratory test and measurement equipment and in refrigerated centrifuges. 

The ban on PFAS refrigerants in low-temperature refrigeration below -50ºC seeks a transition period of 18 months and a five-year exemption.