Counterfeit AC Refrigerant Poses Serious Danger to Technicians

The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR) is alerting the automotive industry about the serious dangers of counterfeit and contaminated AC refrigerant after another 3500 cylinders of counterfeit refrigerant were seized by Saudi authorities earlier this month.

The problem is caused by counterfeiters who are manufacturing cylinders of AC refrigerant labeled as pure R-134a but in fact contain R-134a mixed with other refrigerants like R-40.

When R-40 is exposed to aluminum, commonly used in a/c system components, it forms a toxic, flammable and highly volatile compound known as trimethyl aluminum that is explosive upon contact with air.
R-40 is a harmful and dangerous material that is not suited for use in automotive R-134a a/c systems.

CCAR invited guest blogger Bob Miller of Train Them Now LLC to publish an article on the issue to help explain the dangers and offer some solutions for repairers that handle AC service.

According to Miller, if R40 is found in a system, the system is considered unrepairable. There is no safe and approved solution for removal of the refrigerant and neutralization of the aluminum compound that may have been formed.

Miller suggests several precautions:

– Always identify refrigerant on every vehicle before you hook your equipment to it
– Be wary of R-134a being sold well below the current market price
– look for misspellings or poor quality on cylinder labels that might indicate a counterfeit
– hook a refrigerant identifier to a new cylinder of R-134a as a precaution

Read the entire article on the CCAR Greenlink website

Contaminated R-134a whitepaper from Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute

by CollisionWeek: www.collisionweek.com/cw/news/2013/0222-coun.asp

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