More illegal imports of HFCs in Europe

Source: : Despite a recent EC-sponsored report finding no evidence of large-scale illegal HFC imports, reports received by the Cooling Post and a general search of online auction sites suggests the problem is more widespread than some would admit. A search of country-specific auction sites reveals evidence of refrigerant being offered for sale without ensuring the buyer is F-gas registered and sales of refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders.


The Cooling Post has uncovered instances of sellers ignoring the regulation completely or merely paying lip-service to the licence requirement. An Italian seller, for instance, offering R404A drew customers’ attention to the F-gas regulations but merely stated: “By purchasing a refrigerant, you confirm that you are knowledgeable in the sense of the above-mentioned regulations and thereby the use of the refrigerant by a knowledgeable person.”


The CNA, Italy’s national confederation of SMEs, has expressed concern at the ease with which refrigerants can be ordered on the internet. This was exposed by the Canale 5 TV programme Striscia la Notizia earlier this month when the presenter successfully bought an 800g bottle of R410A from a seller on Amazon. While the website advert suggested an F-gas licence was required, the presenter Jimmy Ghione was assured by the seller over the phone that this wasn’t needed.


The situation is by no means restricted to Italy. The problem seems to extend across all the European member states, including its largest members the UK, France, Germany and Spain. Not surprisingly, the majority of activity centres on the refrigerants most affected by the price increases – R404A, R410A and R134a.



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