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CFC/Freon Regulations

Regulations Governing Use of CFC-12 (Freon), HFCs and HCFCs

Services We Provide

  • The Air Quality Division provides site visits to all Bernalillo County automotive businesses that request purchasing certificates for R-12 (freon) in Bernalillo County.
  • The Division verifies that approved recover/recycle equipment is on site; registers the business and issues 5 purchasing certificates to be used at various stores that sell R-12.
  • The Division will re-issue certificates for businesses that have lost certificates previously issued (after receipt of a letter documenting that the business has exhausted all attempts to relocate lost certificates); and the Division will also issue 5 additional certificates to businesses that have used the original five certificates and wish to purchase R-12 at additional retailers.
For assistance, please contact the Air Quality Division at (505) 768-1972 or email [email protected].

Regulations Pertaining to HCFC Usage

One of the largest uses of CFC-12 in the U.S. is as a refrigerant in motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs). 

  • Section 609 of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments implemented regulatory requirements for Stratospheric Ozone Protection that requires facilities servicing automotive air conditioning (A/C) units to utilize approved refrigerant recovery and/or recycling equipment to properly recover and recycle the refrigerants used in the A/C system.  The prohibition on venting CFC-12 has been in effect since 1992.
  • In addition, personnel servicing the A/C system while operating approved recovery/recycling equipment must be properly trained and certified by an EPA approved certification program.  Training programs must include information on the proper use of recovery/recycling equipment, the regulatory requirements, the importance of refrigerant recovery, and the effects of ozone depletion. See
  • Service shops must maintain records of the name and address of any facility to which recovered refrigerant is sent. If refrigerant is recovered and sent to a reclamation facility, the name and address of that facility must be kept on file.  Recycling of the refrigerant means replacing the refrigerant removed from a vehicle into either the same vehicle or a different vehicle after EPA approved recycling equipment has removed impurities and oil from the refrigerant and any necessary repairs have been made.
  • In Bernalillo County, purchasing of R-12 is restricted to those businesses that provide a purchasing certificate issued by the Air Quality Division.
  • Technicians who repair or service HFC-134a MVACs must recover the refrigerant and either recycle it on-site, or send it off-site to a reclamation facility.  The prohibition on venting HFC-134a has been in effect since November 1995.
  • Automotive refrigerants must be recovered from vehicles prior to final vehicle demolition or prior to removal of any vehicle parts that requires that a charged A/C system be vented to retrieve any parts.

Regulations Pertaining to HCFC Usage (Non-Automotive Applications)

  • It is illegal to vent HCFCs (like R-12 used for many non-automotive refrigeration applications) to the atmosphere. The regulations require that HCFCs be recovered and/or recycled. However it is not illegal to use in-stock, recycled, or remanufactured stocks of these materials.
  • Technicians who service non-automotive refrigeration systems must be certified.
  • Non-automotive air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, including household refrigerators, must have refrigerants removed prior to disposal.  It is the responsibility of the final person in the disposal chain (scrap metal recycler or landfill) to ensure that refrigerants are recovered.  Persons “upstream” can provide documentation of proper recovery of refrigerants prior to the equipment reaching the final person in the disposal chain.