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BAM-Press release No. 13/2009

20.10.2009 - (idw) Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)

"Dangerous 'chemical cocktail' in the air conditioning system of a car" - BAM does not comment on any hazards posed by the refrigerant 1234yf

The press release of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH) of 15 October 2009 reports on the tests conducted on the refrigerant 1234yf from the air conditioning unit of a car performed by the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing - commissioned by DUH. Ignition of the refrigerant 1234yf was observed in several leakage tests under closely specified boundary conditions on a specific test vehicle. A potential misinterpretation of the sub-title of DUH's press release led to the assumption that BAM would have also commented on the hazards posed by the use of the refrigerant. This is not the case. The assessment of the hazards presented by a substance in normal use in technical equipment cannot take place based only on a single individual test series. Various systematic scenarios ("incidents") must be analysed and a holistic hazard analysis performed. Only then it is possible to reliably comment on the dangers posed by the use of such a substance in technical devices. In a car for instance, in addition to the air conditioning system refrigerant, many other fuels and materials are used, which - depending upon the scenario - can also lead to hazards to humans and the environment. BAM therefore only confirms the execution of leakage tests, it does not comment on any potential hazards arising from the use of the refrigerant 1234yf in cars.

Dr. Kai Holtappels
Phone: +49 30 8104 3436
Fax: +49 30 8104 1217

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