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The new legislation covers hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), chloroflourocarbons (CFCs), halons and other ozone-depleting substances. Most chloroflourocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, and 1,1,1 trichloroethane, which are mainly used in refrigeration, or as solvents and in dry cleaning, are now banned, although, according to the UK Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR), some exemptions do apply.

The use of HCFCs in certain applications is subject to an immediate ban, whilst their use in most new refrigeration and air conditioning equipment will be prohibited from 1 January 2001. Halons used in fire-fighting will be available until 31 December 2001, with most of these systems being decommissioned by the end of the following year (see related story). However, the sale and use of bromochloromethane (halon 1011) has been banned from this week.

The sale of methyl bromide, which is used in soil fumigation and as a pesticide will be prohibited from January 2005.

The new European Commission regulation implements commitments agreed by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, aimed at reducing the depletion of the ozone layer (see related story).

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