Refrigerant Sales Restriction
The sales restriction is established by EPA regulations (40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F) under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Only EPA-certified technicians are allowed to purchase ozone-depleting substances (ODS) or non-ozone depleting substitutes used as refrigerants, with limited exceptions. Refrigerant can only be sold to technicians certified under the Section 608 or Section 609 technician certification programs, where individuals may only purchase refrigerant consistent with the appliances covered by their certification.
The sales restriction covers refrigerants contained in cylinders, cans, or drums, except for the sale of small cans of substitute refrigerants (e.g., R-134a for use in motor vehicle air conditioners). This sales restriction does not cover refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment or components containing refrigerants.
Requirements to Purchase Refrigerant
The following people can generally buy any type of ozone-depleting or substitute refrigerant under this sales restriction:
- Technicians who have earned the Section 608 Technician Certification.
- Employers of a Section 608 certified technician (or the employer's authorized representative) if the employer provides the refrigerant wholesaler with written evidence that he or she employs at least one properly certified technician.
The following people can buy refrigerant found acceptable for use in a motor vehicle air conditioner (MVAC):
- Technicians who have earned Section 609 Technician Certification.
- Employers of a Section 609 certified technician (or the employer's authorized representative) if the employer provides the refrigerant wholesaler with written evidence that he or she employs at least one properly certified technician. Nothing in this provision relieves persons of the requirements of 40 CFR § 82.34(b) or § 82.42(b).
Only Section 608 certified technicians can purchase refrigerants intended for use with stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. Section 609 certified technicians cannot purchase refrigerants that are intended for use with stationary equipment, regardless of container size.
Small cans of non-exempt MVAC refrigerant (i.e., containers designed to hold two pounds or less of refrigerant) that have unique fittings, and self-sealing valves can continue to be sold to persons without certification for DIY use on their vehicles.
Wholesaler Responsibilities when Selling Refrigerant
Wholesalers that sell either ozone-depleting or substitute refrigerants must retain invoices that indicate the name of the purchaser, the date of sale, and the quantity of refrigerant purchased.
Wholesalers that sell refrigerant for resale are legally responsible for ensuring that their customers fit into one of the categories of allowed purchasers under the sales restriction. Although the regulation does not specify precautions that wholesalers must take to verify the intent of individuals purchasing refrigerant, EPA recommends that wholesalers obtain a signed statement from the purchaser indicating that he or she is purchasing the refrigerant only for eventual resale to certified technicians.
Wholesalers also may sell refrigerant to the purchaser’s authorized representative if the purchaser provides evidence that he or she employs at least one certified technician. It is the wholesaler's responsibility to determine whether persons who claim to represent a refrigerant purchaser are indeed authorized representatives. EPA recommends, but does not require, that wholesalers keep lists of authorized representatives to help with this determination.
If a wholesaler knows that refrigerant delivered to a purchaser when no one is present will ultimately be received by the purchaser or his authorized representative, then the wholesaler may deliver the refrigerant without obtaining the signature of an authorized representative.