DuPont: Daimler’s failure to implement European sustainability directive will carry an environmental cost

DuPont expressed disappointment in Daimler’s statement that it will postpone compliance with Europe’s Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive while it pursues a technology that reportedly will not be ready to implement for many years.

Automakers have had a number of years to identify a refrigerant for use in complying with the MAC Directive. Automakers from around the world evaluated a range of refrigerants as candidates for MAC Directive compliance, including HFO-1234yf and carbon dioxide. Among the available options, the consensus view was that HFO-1234yf is the most suitable alternative when considering performance, life-cycle climate performance, safety, implementation costs and industry readiness.

On the surface all of Dupont’s noise sounds good for the environment and thinking about people, BUT isn’t Dupont the   same company that gave us R12 refrigerant, and the R134a refrigerant which replaced R12 and was supposed to be good for the environment. And now its being replaced because its bad. Isn’t Dupont the same company that gave us Teflon cookware, you know the one that emits toxic gas and the same company that was accused of an 18 year coverup by the EPA Working Group?

Quoted from Wise Geek  (click their name to read the whole story);

Though DuPont is quick to point out the safety of Teflon® and to distance it from the chemical PFOA, studies show Teflon® cookware releases PFOA when heated to 680°F (360°C). This temperature can be reached fairly quickly, for example, a forgotten pan is left empty preheating on a very hot burner. DuPont acknowledges this, but points out that this is incorrect use of the cookware.

In April 2003, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action against DuPont for what it classified as an 18-year cover-up regarding the dangers of the Teflon® chemical PFOA. Factory workers exposed to PFOA inside the Teflon® plants had high levels of the manmade, indestructible chemical in their blood. This included seven pregnant women and their fetuses, which also showed elevated levels of PFOA.

“Automakers conducted extensive testing, and concluded that HFO-1234yf is the best option overall,” said Thierry Vanlancker, president, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts. “This involved extensive testing in real-life conditions, and evaluations conducted at independent, third-party laboratories. The results consistently showed that the refrigerant is highly unlikely to ignite and that ignition requires an extremely unlikely combination of exceptional conditions that are not consistent with real world collision scenarios.”

All industry-sponsored risk assessments have determined that HFO-1234yf can be used safely and that neither flammability nor hydrogen fluoride formation present a significant safety concern. In fact, a presentation co-authored by Daimler and presented in September 2012 in Germany, concluded that “R1234yf equipped vehicles are as safe as those using R134a – for occupants, mechanics, first emergency responders and fire fighters.”

The automotive industry has established recommendations to enable the safe use of HFO-1234yf. DuPont is not aware of any documented cases of actual vehicle crash tests where HFO-1234yf ignited. Further, another German car manufacturer was recently quoted in a news report as saying that the results of their testing of HFO-1234yf have been positive without exception.

“Safety is a core value of DuPont and is central to everything we do,” added Vanlancker. “We certainly put safety as the first priority and we have a high degree of confidence that HFO-1234yf can be safely used as an automotive refrigerant. We remain committed to work with Daimler to overcome their current technical concerns.”

Using carbon dioxide as an automotive refrigerant reduces fuel efficiency of vehicles and this becomes an overriding factor in the warmer geographies of the world. Further, use of carbon dioxide as an automotive refrigerant involves the potential for passengers to breathe unacceptable levels of carbon dioxide in the event of a refrigerant leak.

Neither one of them sounds like a good idea, but IF I had to chose, between possibly damaging the environment more and killing people from toxic gas (think chemical weapons). I would chose like the Germans did, but that would hurt DuPont profits more. Of course there is a third alternative, simply don’t buy any new car.