Johannes C. Laube, Mike J. Newland, Christopher Hogan, Carl A. M. Brenninkmeijer, Paul J. Fraser, Patricia Martinerie, David E. Oram, Claire E. Reeves, Thomas Röckmann, Jakob Schwander, Emmanuel Witrant, William T. Sturges. Newly detected ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere. Nature Geoscience, 2014;
Scientists at the University of East Anglia have identified four new human-made gases in the atmosphere — all of which are contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer. New research reveals that more than 74,000 tonnes of three new chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and one new hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) have been released into the atmosphere.
Rosenthal, E. 8 Sep 2012. As Coolant Is Phased Out, Smugglers Reap Large Profits. New York Times.
Under an international treaty, the gas, HCFC-22, has been phased out of new equipment in the industrialized world because it damages the earth’s ozone layer and contributes to global warming. There are strict limits on how much can be imported or sold in the United States by American manufacturers.
But the gas is still produced in enormous volumes and sold cheaply in China, India and Mexico, among other places in the developing world, making it a profitable if unlikely commodity for international smugglers.
…even as international treaties and United States law demand that companies renounce the use of the coolant, economics propels them to use ever more — sometimes even if it means breaking the law. The smuggling is difficult to stop because gas canisters can be readily mislabeled to mask their content. Inspections are time-consuming, policing requires expensive testing equipment that is in short supply, and border agents have more pressing targets like guns and narcotics.