[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 153 (Wednesday, August 8, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38969-38976]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-16773]



[[Page 38969]]

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 82

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472; FRL-9981-89-OAR]
RIN 2060-AT53


Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for 
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition 
of Certain Industry, Consensus-Based Standards

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: On December 11, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) published a direct final rule and an accompanying notice of 
proposed rulemaking entitled ``Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: 
Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To 
Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-based 
Standards.'' EPA proposed to modify the use conditions required for use 
of three flammable refrigerants--isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), 
and R-441A--in new household refrigerators, freezers, and combination 
refrigerators and freezers under the Significant New Alternatives 
Policy (SNAP) program to reflect an updated standard from Underwriters 
Laboratories. Because EPA received adverse comment, EPA withdrew the 
direct final rule through a separate notice. In this action, EPA is 
addressing relevant comments and finalizing the proposed use conditions 
with no changes.

DATES: This rule is effective on September 7, 2018. The incorporation 
by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by 
the Director of the Federal Register as of September 7, 2018.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472. All documents in the docket are listed on the 
https://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business 
information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted 
by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is 
not placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard 
copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available 
electronically through https://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at 
the Air and Radiation Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 
Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open 
from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal 
holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 
566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is 
(202) 566-1742.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chenise Farquharson, Stratospheric 
Protection Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (Mail Code 6205T), 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, 
DC 20460; telephone number: 202-564-7768; email address: 
farquharson.chenise@epa.gov. Notices and rulemakings under EPA's SNAP 
program are available on EPA's Stratospheric Ozone website at https://www.epa.gov/snap/snap-regulations.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. General Information
    A. What action is EPA taking?
    B. Does this action apply to me?
II. Background
    A. What is the affected end-use?
    B. Use Conditions
    C. 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24
III. What is EPA finalizing in this action?
    A. Use Conditions
    B. Rationale for Changed Use Conditions
    C. Incorporation by Reference
    D. Equipment Manufactured Prior to Effective Date of This Rule
IV. Response to Comments
    A. Compliance With 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24
    B. Flammability
    C. Venting Prohibition
V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews
    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and 
Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review
    B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs
    C. Paperwork Reduction Act
    D. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
    G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From 
Environmental Health and Safety Risks
    I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and 
1 CFR part 51
    K. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address 
Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 
Populations
    L. Congressional Review Act
VI. References

I. General Information

A. What action is EPA taking?

    On December 11, 2017, EPA published a direct final rule (82 FR 
58122) to modify the use conditions for three flammable hydrocarbon 
refrigerants--isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), and R-441A--used in 
new household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators 
and freezers (hereafter ``household refrigerators and freezers'') by 
replacing four of the five use conditions in previous hydrocarbon 
refrigerants rules under EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy 
(SNAP) program (76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 
2015) with the revised Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 60335-2-
24, ``Household and Similar Electrical Appliances--Safety--Part 2-24: 
Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream 
Appliances and Ice-Makers'' (2nd edition, April 28, 2017). We stated in 
that direct final rule that if we received adverse comment by January 
25, 2018, we would publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register 
so that the direct final rule would not take effect. EPA received 
adverse comment on the direct final rule and published a separate 
notice withdrawing the direct final rule on March 7, 2018 (83 FR 9703).
    EPA also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 11, 
2017 accompanying the direct final rule, entitled ``Protection of 
Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air 
Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, 
Consensus-based Standards'' (82 FR 58154). That notice proposed to make 
the same changes to the relevant listing decisions as in the direct 
final rule. This action addresses the comments received and finalizes 
the revisions to the relevant listing decisions, as proposed.

B. Does this action apply to me?

    This action regulates the use of three flammable hydrocarbon 
refrigerants--isobutane, propane, and the hydrocarbon blend R-441A--in 
new household refrigerators and freezers. Table 1 identifies entities 
potentially affected by this action. Regulated entities may include:

[[Page 38970]]



     Table 1--Potentially Regulated Entities by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Code
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              Category                  NAICS code                 Description of regulated entities
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Industry............................          333415  Manufacturers of Refrigerators, Freezers, and Other
                                                       Refrigerating or Freezing Equipment, Electric or Other
                                                       (NESOI); Heat Pumps Not Elsewhere Specified or Included;
                                                       and Parts Thereof.
Industry............................          335222  Household Refrigerator and Home Freezer Manufacturing.
Industry............................          811412  Appliance Repair and Maintenance.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a 
guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this 
action. This table lists the types of entities that EPA is currently 
aware could potentially be regulated by this action. Other types of 
entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. To determine 
whether your entity is regulated by this action, you should carefully 
examine the applicability criteria found in 40 CFR part 82. If you have 
questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular 
entity, consult the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section.

II. Background

A. What is the affected end-use?

    Household refrigerators and freezers are intended primarily for 
residential use, although they may be used outside the home (e.g., 
workplace kitchen pantries). The designs and refrigeration capacities 
of equipment vary widely. This equipment is composed of three main 
categories: Household freezers only offer storage space at freezing 
temperatures, household refrigerators only offer storage space at non-
freezing temperatures, and products with both a refrigerator and 
freezer in a single unit are referred to as combination refrigerators 
and freezers. The combination products are the most common. Certain 
small refrigerated household appliances (e.g., chilled kitchen drawers, 
wine coolers, and mini-fridges) are also within this end-use. Household 
refrigerators and freezers have all refrigeration components 
integrated, and for the smallest types, the refrigeration circuit is 
entirely brazed or welded. These systems are charged with refrigerant 
at the factory and typically require only an electricity supply to 
begin operation.
    The 2014 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-
Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Handbook of Refrigeration provides an 
overview of food preservation in regard to household refrigerators and 
freezers. Generally, a storage temperature between 32 and 39 [deg]F (0 
to 3.9 [deg]C) is desirable for preserving fresh food. Humidity and 
higher or lower temperatures are more suitable for certain foods and 
beverages. Wine chillers, for example, are frequently used for storing 
wine, and have slightly higher optimal temperatures from 45 to 65 
[deg]F (7.2 to 18.3 [deg]C). In single-door refrigerators, the optimum 
conditions for food preservation are also slightly higher since food 
storage is not intended for long-term storage. Freezers and combination 
refrigerators and freezers that are designed to store food for long 
durations are generally designed to hold temperatures near 0 to 5 
[deg]F (-17.7 to -15 [deg]C).
Refrigerant Flammability
    American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ASHRAE Standard 34--
2016 assigns a safety group classification for each refrigerant which 
consists of two alphanumeric characters (e.g., A2 or B1). The capital 
letter indicates the toxicity and the numeral denotes the flammability. 
ASHRAE classifies Class A refrigerants as refrigerants for which 
toxicity has not been identified at concentrations less than or equal 
to 400 parts per million (ppm) by volume, based on data used to 
determine threshold limit values (TLV)-time weighted average (TWA) or 
consistent indices. Class B signifies refrigerants for which there is 
evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm by volume, based 
on data used to determine TLV-TWA or consistent indices.
    The refrigerants are also assigned a flammability classification of 
1, 2, or 3. Tests are conducted in accordance with American Society for 
Testing and Materials (ASTM) E681 using a spark ignition source at 60 
[deg]C and 101.3 kPa.\1\ The flammability classification ``1'' is given 
to refrigerants that, when tested, show no flame propagation. The 
flammability classification ``2'' is given to refrigerants that, when 
tested, exhibit flame propagation, have a heat of combustion less than 
19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 British thermal units (BTU)/lb), and have a lower 
flammability limit (LFL) greater than 0.10 kg/m\3\. Refrigerants within 
flammability classification ``2'' may optionally be designated in the 
subclass ``2L'' if they have a maximum burning velocity of 10 cm/s or 
lower when tested at 23.0 [deg]C and 101.3 kPa. The flammability 
classification ``3'' is given to refrigerants that, when tested, 
exhibit flame propagation and that either have a heat of combustion of 
19,000 kJ/kg (8,174 BTU/lb) or greater or an LFL of 0.10 kg/m\3\ or 
lower. Thus, refrigerants with flammability classification ``3'' are 
highly flammable while those with flammability classification ``2'' are 
less flammable and those with flammability classification ``2L'' are 
mildly flammable.
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    \1\ ASHRAE, 2016. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34--2016: Designation and 
Safety Classification of Refrigerants.
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    For both toxicity and flammability classifications, refrigerant 
blends are designated based on the worst-case estimate of fractionation 
determined for the blend. Figure 1 illustrates these safety group 
classifications.

[[Page 38971]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR08AU18.005

B. Use Conditions

    EPA previously found isobutane, propane, and R-441A acceptable, 
subject to use conditions, in new household refrigerators and freezers 
(76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015). In the 
proposed and final rules, EPA provided information on the environmental 
and health properties of the three refrigerants and the various other 
substitutes available for use in household refrigerators and freezers. 
EPA's risk screens for the three refrigerants are available in the 
docket for these rulemakings (EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0286 and EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-
0748).2 3
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    \2\ Isobutane and R-441A: 75 FR 25799, May 10, 2010 (proposed 
rule); 76 FR 78832, December 20, 2011 (final rule).
    \3\ Propane: 79 FR 38811, July 9, 2014 (proposed rule); 80 FR 
19454, April 10, 2015 (final rule).
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    Isobutane, propane, and R-441A have an ASHRAE classification of A3, 
indicating that they have low toxicity and high flammability. The 
flammability risks are of concern because household refrigerators and 
freezers have traditionally used refrigerants that are not flammable. 
In the presence of an ignition source (e.g., static electricity, a 
spark resulting from a closing door, or a cigarette), an explosion or a 
fire could occur if the concentration of isobutane, propane, and R-441A 
were to exceed the LFL of 18,000 ppm, 21,000 ppm, and 20,500 ppm, 
respectively.
    To address the flammability risk, which is not posed by other 
available refrigerants in this end-use, EPA listed the refrigerants as 
acceptable, subject to use conditions, in new household refrigerators 
and freezers. The use conditions ensure minimization of flammability 
risk by incorporating by reference Supplement SA to the 10th edition of 
UL Standard 250, and by including refrigerant charge size limits and 
requirements for markings on equipment using the refrigerants to inform 
consumers and technicians of potential flammability hazards. Without 
appropriate use conditions, the flammability risk posed by the 
refrigerants could be higher than non-flammable refrigerants because 
individuals may not be aware that their actions could potentially cause 
a fire, and because the refrigerants could be used in existing 
equipment that has not been designed specifically to minimize 
flammability risks. Our assessment and listing decisions (76 FR 78832; 
December 20, 2011 and 80 FR 19454; April 10, 2015) found that with the 
use conditions, the overall risk of these substitutes, including the 
risk due to flammability, does not present significantly greater risk 
in the end-use than other substitutes that are currently or potentially 
available for that same end-use.
    The use conditions required the following:
    1. New equipment only; not intended for use as a retrofit 
alternative: ``These refrigerants may be used only in new equipment 
designed specifically and clearly identified for the refrigerant (i.e., 
none of these substitutes may be used as a conversion or `retrofit' \4\ 
refrigerant for existing equipment designed for a different 
refrigerant);''
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    \4\ Sometimes conversion refrigerant substitutes are 
inaccurately referred to as ``drop in'' replacements.
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    2. UL standard: ``These refrigerants may be used only in a 
refrigerator or freezer, or combination refrigerator and freezer, that 
meets all requirements listed in Supplement SA to the 10th edition of 
the UL Standard for Household Refrigerators and Freezers, UL 250, dated 
August 25, 2000). In cases where the final rule includes requirements 
more stringent than those of the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, the 
appliance must meet the requirements of the final rule in place of the 
requirements in the UL standard;''
    3. Charge size: ``The charge size must not exceed 57 grams (2.01 
ounces) in any refrigerator, freezer, or combination refrigerator and 
freezer in each circuit;''
    4. Labeling: ``As provided in clauses SA6.1.1 and SA6.1.2 of UL 
Standard 250, 10th edition, the following markings must be attached at 
the locations provided and must be permanent:
    a. On or near any evaporators that can be contacted by the 
consumer: `DANGER--Risk of Fire or Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant 
Used. Do Not Use Mechanical Devices To Defrost Refrigerator. Do Not 
Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.'
    b. Near the machine compartment: `DANGER--Risk of Fire or 
Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used. To Be Repaired Only By Trained 
Service Personnel. Do Not Puncture Refrigerant Tubing.'
    c. Near the machine compartment: `CAUTION--Risk of Fire or 
Explosion. Flammable Refrigerant Used. Consult Repair Manual/Owner's 
Guide Before Attempting To Service This Product. All Safety Precautions 
Must be Followed.'
    d. On the exterior of the refrigerator: `CAUTION--Risk of Fire or 
Explosion. Dispose of Properly In Accordance With Federal Or Local 
Regulations. Flammable Refrigerant Used.'
    e. Near any and all exposed refrigerant tubing: `CAUTION--Risk of 
Fire or Explosion Due To Puncture Of Refrigerant Tubing; Follow 
Handling Instructions Carefully. Flammable Refrigerant Used.'
    All of these markings must be in letters no less than 6.4 mm (\1/4\ 
inch) high.''
    5. Color-coded hoses and piping: ``The refrigerator, freezer, or 
combination refrigerator and freezer

[[Page 38972]]

must have red Pantone Matching System (PMS) #185 marked pipes, hoses, 
or other devices through which the refrigerant is serviced (typically 
known as the service port), to indicate the use of a flammable 
refrigerant. This color must be present at all service ports and where 
service puncturing or otherwise creating an opening from the 
refrigerant circuit to the atmosphere might be expected (e.g., process 
tubes). The color mark must extend at least 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) 
from the compressor and must be replaced if removed.''

C. UL Standard 60335-2-24

    In 2011, UL formed a Joint Task Group (JTG) comprised of members of 
its Standards Technical Panel (STP) to develop recommendations for 
addressing the use and safety of refrigerants classified as A2, A2L, 
and A3 in refrigeration and air conditioning (AC) equipment. One of the 
outcomes is the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24, which is based on 
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 60335-2-24 
``Household and Similar Electrical Appliances--Safety--Part 2-24: 
Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream 
Appliances and Ice-Makers'' (edition 7.1, May 2012). The 2017 UL 
Standard 60335-2-24 was developed in an open and consensus-based 
approach, with the assistance of experts in the refrigeration and AC 
industry as well as experts involved in assessing the safety of 
products. The revision cycle, including final recirculation, concluded 
on February 6, 2017, and UL published the standard on April 28, 2017. 
The 2017 UL Standard replaces the previously published version of this 
same standard as well as UL Standard 250 Supplement SA, ``Requirements 
for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the 
Refrigerating System'' (Edition 10, August 25, 2000).
    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 limits the charge size for each 
separate refrigerant circuit (i.e., compressor, condenser, evaporator, 
and refrigerant piping) to 150 grams (5.3 ounces). Additionally, the 
2017 standard requires testing of refrigeration appliances containing 
flammable refrigerants, including leakage tests, temperature and 
scratch tests, and heat testing requirements to address the hazards due 
to ignition of leaked refrigerant by potential ignition sources 
associated with the appliance (see sections 22.107-22.110 and the 
relevant annexes of the standard for specific testing requirements). 
These tests are intended, among other things, to ensure that any leaks 
will result in concentrations well below the LFL, and that potential 
ignition sources will not be able to create temperatures high enough to 
start a fire. Appliances that are in compliance with the 2017 UL 
Standard 60335-2-24 have passed appropriate ignition or leakage tests 
as stipulated in the standard. Passing the leakage test ensures that 
refrigerant concentrations in the event of a leak do not reach or 
exceed 75 percent of the LFL inside any internal or external electrical 
component compartments.

III. What is EPA finalizing in this action?

    As proposed, EPA is revising the use conditions for propane, 
isobutane and R-441 in the household refrigerators and freezers end-
use. We are finalizing the use conditions for each substitute as 
follows:

A. Use Conditions

    EPA is replacing the reference to Supplement SA to the 10th edition 
of UL Standard 250 in use condition ``2'' with ``UL Standard 60335-2-
24, Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical 
Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating 
Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers (2nd Edition, April 28, 
2017).'' In addition, EPA is removing use conditions ``3,'' ``4,'' and 
``5'' because the conditions specified in those use conditions are 
specified in 2017 UL standard 60335-2-24; the incorporation of 2017 UL 
standard 60335-2-24 in condition 2 includes the requirements in 
previous conditions 3, 4, and 5. The use conditions provide the same 
level of assurance that the three substitutes can be used as safely as 
other available alternatives. The revised use conditions apply to new 
household refrigerators and freezers manufactured after the effective 
date of this regulation. The new use conditions are as follows:
    1. New equipment only; not intended for use as a retrofit 
alternative: Propane, isobutane, and R-441A may be used only in new 
equipment designed specifically and clearly identified for the 
refrigerant (i.e., none of these substitutes may be used as a 
conversion or ``retrofit'' \5\ refrigerant for existing equipment 
designed for a different refrigerant); and
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    \5\ Sometimes conversion refrigerant substitutes are 
inaccurately referred to as ``drop in'' replacements.
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    2. UL standard: These refrigerants may be used only in equipment 
that meets all requirements in the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24.

B. Rationale for Changed Use Conditions

1. Charge Size
    EPA previously required a charge size limit of 57 grams (2.01 
ounces) for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or 
freezer. The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 specifies that the maximum 
charge size for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or 
freezer must be no greater than 150 grams (5.29 ounces).
    As discussed in the December 2017 direct final rule, EPA evaluated 
reasonable worst-case and more typical, yet conservative, scenarios to 
model the effects of the sudden release of each refrigerant from a 
household refrigerator or freezer containing the maximum charge size of 
150 grams (5.29 ounces). This was done to determine whether the 
refrigerants would present flammability or toxicity concerns for 
consumers or workers, including those servicing or disposing of 
appliances. To represent a reasonable worst-case scenario, it was 
assumed that a catastrophic leak of each refrigerant would occur while 
the refrigerator or freezer unit is in a residential kitchen with a 
height of approximately 2.4 meters (i.e., a standard 8-foot ceiling) 
and a minimum effective volume of 18 m\3\ (640 ft\3\) or an effective 
volume of 53 m\3\ (1,870 ft\3\) (i.e., excluding the space filled by 
cabinets, other kitchen equipment) (Murray 1997; NKBA 2016). The 
minimum kitchen volume of 18 m\3\ (640 ft\3\) does not consider 
residential kitchen spaces that are often connected to breakfast nooks 
or other rooms (e.g., living room, dining room) through open pathways 
or swinging doors, which would also increase the effective volume of 
the space into which a refrigerant would be released, thereby reducing 
the likelihood that the instantaneous concentration of the refrigerants 
would exceed the LFL. Conversely, the larger kitchen volume used in the 
analysis (i.e., 53 m\3\) considers air-mixing that is likely to occur 
within the spaces that are adjacent to the kitchen (Murray 1997; NKBA 
2016). The minimum effective kitchen volume modeled in this analysis is 
conservative, as it is approximately half the size of the average 
kitchen in a new single-family home in the United States (i.e., 36 
m\3\) (NKBA 2016). The larger kitchen volume of 53 m\3\ includes 
adjacent areas to the kitchen, such as a breakfast nook, and is more 
conservative than the average estimated volume of a kitchen with a 
breakfast nook in a U.S. household (i.e., 65 m\3\) (NKBA 2016).
    EPA's analysis for each of the refrigerants revealed that even if 
the

[[Page 38973]]

unit's full charge were emitted within one minute, the concentration 
would not reach the LFL for that refrigerant in the less conservative 
53 m\3\ (1,870 ft\3\) kitchen, showing a lack of flammability risk. The 
threshold analyses demonstrated that a flammability concern could exist 
in the minimum modeled kitchen volume (i.e., 18 m\3\ (640 ft\3\)) if 
the charge size of the household refrigerator or freezer exceeded 120 
grams, which is slightly smaller than the maximum modeled charge size 
(i.e., 150 grams). However, the estimated exposures were derived using 
conservative assumptions (e.g., small room size, no ventilation). A 
150-gram household refrigeration unit would have to be installed in a 
kitchen at least 2.3 times smaller than the less conservative kitchen 
size modeled, in the worst-case conditions at end-use, for flammability 
to be of concern. As a result, EPA determined that a release of a 150-
gram unit does not present a significant flammability risk in the 
reasonable worst-case scenario for the three refrigerants in household 
refrigerators and freezers.
    Concerning toxicity of the refrigerants, our risk screens found 
that the 30-minute acute exposure guideline level (AEGL) (i.e., 6,900 
ppm) is exceeded only in the worst-case scenario for the minimum 
kitchen volume (i.e., 18 m\3\). Based upon our analysis, the minimum 
room sizes in which installed equipment could cause a toxicity concern 
would have to be approximately 0.8 times smaller than the larger 
modeled room size of 53 m\3\ (1,870 ft\3\), which is a conservative 
kitchen volume in the United States (Murray 1997; NKBA 2016). Thus, we 
have determined that isobutane, propane, and R-441A do not pose 
significantly greater flammability and toxicity risks than other 
acceptable refrigerants in the household refrigerators and freezers 
end-use. The higher charge size included in the revised use condition 
will provide greater flexibility to appliance manufacturers in the 
design of equipment while also ensuring that such equipment will not 
pose greater risk than similar equipment using other acceptable 
alternatives. For more information about EPA's risk assessments, see 
the docket for this rulemaking (EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472).
    EPA is not retaining a separate charge size limit as a use 
condition because it would be redundant of the updated UL standard. 
Therefore, we are replacing the use condition in ``3'' with the 2017 UL 
Standard 60335-2-24.
2. Color-Coded Hoses and Piping, and Labeling
    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 includes requirements for red PMS 
#185 marked pipes, hoses, and other devices through which the 
refrigerant passes, and requirements for markings in letters no less 
than 6.4 mm (\1/4\ inch) high to inform consumers and technicians of 
potential flammability hazards are addressed in (see sections 7.1 and 
22.106 of the standard for additional information on the required 
marking and warning labels). Retaining the use conditions in ``4'' and 
``5'' in EPA's previous hydrocarbon refrigerants rules would be 
redundant of the updated standard. Therefore, we are replacing the use 
conditions in ``4'' and ``5'' with the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24.

C. Incorporation by Reference

    Through this action EPA is incorporating by reference the 2017 UL 
Standard 60335-2-24, which establishes requirements for the evaluation 
of household and similar electrical appliances, and safe use of 
flammable refrigerants. The standard is discussed in greater detail 
elsewhere in this preamble. This approach is the same as that used to 
incorporate Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250 in our 
previous rules on flammable refrigerants (76 FR 78832, December 20, 
2011; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015).
    The 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24 is available for purchase by mail 
at: COMM 2000, 151 Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: 
orders@shopulstandards.com; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in the U.S. or 
Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet address: http://www.shopulstandards.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productId=UL60335-2-24_2_B_20170428(ULStandards2). The cost of the 2017 UL Standard 60335-
2-24 is $454 for an electronic copy and $567 for hardcopy. UL also 
offers a subscription service to the Standards Certification Customer 
Library (SCCL) that allows unlimited access to their standards and 
related documents. The cost of obtaining this standard is not a 
significant financial burden for equipment manufacturers and purchase 
is not required for those selling, installing, and servicing the 
equipment. Therefore, EPA concludes that the UL standard being 
incorporated by reference is reasonably available.

D. Equipment Manufactured Prior to Effective Date of This Rule

    The use conditions in this action apply to new household 
refrigerators and freezers manufactured after the effective date of 
this regulation. This final rule does not apply to or affect equipment 
manufactured before the effective date of this action and manufactured 
in compliance with the SNAP requirements applicable at the time of 
manufacture.

IV. Response to Comments

    EPA received 17 comments on the December 11, 2017, notice of 
proposed rulemaking. Below EPA is responding to six of those comments, 
which were either relevant to this rulemaking or raised issues that 
were addressed in related rulemakings. The other eleven comments raised 
issues that are outside the scope of this rulemaking or are not 
relevant to any related rulemaking, so EPA is not providing a specific 
response to those comments.

A. Compliance With the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24

    Comment: Three commenters expressed support for the proposed 
changes to the use conditions to reflect the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-
24. The commenters noted that the revised use conditions would not 
place any significant burden on the regulated community, would ensure 
consistency with consensus-based standards, and would encourage 
manufacturers of home refrigeration appliances and suppliers of 
refrigerants to transition to more environmentally friendly 
refrigerants.
    Response: EPA acknowledges the support and is finalizing the 
revised use conditions for use of isobutane, propane, and R-441A in 
household refrigerators and freezers as proposed.

B. Flammability

    Comment: Three commenters raised concerns about flammability risks 
and firefighter safety in homes and other buildings due to the 150-gram 
maximum allowable charge size. The commenters asserted that there would 
be negative impacts and implications related to the higher charge size, 
particularly for propane, and encouraged EPA to consult with 
firefighter organizations, such as the National Volunteer Fire Council 
or the Fire Department Safety Officers of America.
    Response: EPA recognizes that flammability is an important 
consideration with regard to the 150-gram charge size. As discussed 
above in section III.2.a, EPA evaluated flammability and toxicity risks 
for isobutane, propane, and R-441A at the maximum charge size as 
provided in the risk screens included in the docket for

[[Page 38974]]

this rulemaking (Docket ID EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472-0006, -0007, and -
0008). EPA evaluated toxicity risk by considering exposure to workers 
(including those servicing or disposing of appliances), consumers, and 
the general public. EPA evaluated flammability risk by evaluating 
reasonable worst-case and more typical, yet conservative, scenarios to 
model the effects of the sudden release of each refrigerant from a 
household refrigerator or freezer containing the maximum charge. Our 
risk screens found that equipment that met the 150-gram charge limit 
did not exceed the LFL for each of the three refrigerants in household 
refrigerators and freezers in a conservatively sized 53 m\3\ (1,870 
ft\3\) kitchen (see section III.B.1 above for the minimum and average 
kitchen zone volumes). The commenters did not provide any technical 
support for their statements or information demonstrating that use of 
any of the three refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers 
at a charge of 150 grams (5.3 ounces) would pose significantly greater 
risk than other available alternatives in this end-use. We note that 
the use conditions required by this final rule include specific safety 
testing requirements in the 2017 UL Standard 60335-2-24, which are 
intended, among other things, to ensure that any leaks will result in 
concentrations well below the LFL, and that potential ignition sources 
will not be able to create temperatures high enough to start a fire. 
The use conditions also provide additional safety measures and labeling 
requirements (e.g., visible warning statement and red coloring on the 
pipes, hoses, and devices which contain refrigerant) that make 
equipment owners, consumers, fire marshals, and emergency first 
responders aware of the presence of a flammability risk. Moreover, EPA 
is aware of the longstanding widespread use on a global basis of 
household refrigerators and freezers using this charge limit. EPA 
agrees that greater awareness of the presence, risks, and benefits of 
flammable refrigerants among fire marshals and first responders would 
be beneficial.

C. Recovery and Recycling Equipment

    Comment: One commenter voiced concerns that isobutane, propane, and 
R-441A were exempted from the venting prohibition because machines for 
the recovery of flammable refrigerants are not currently available in 
the United States. The commenter stated that hydrocarbon refrigerants 
are odorless, require a procedure for proper handling and storing, and 
``undermine our whole premise of not knowingly venting an ODS 
refrigerant or its alternate.'' In contrast, two commenters provided 
supporting information regarding the safe servicing of household 
appliances with flammable refrigerants and the availability of 
equipment and technologies to safely recover and reclaim flammable 
refrigerants.
    Response: These comments are outside the scope of this rulemaking. 
EPA did not propose and is not today finalizing any changes to its 
previous determinations that venting, releasing, or disposing of these 
refrigerants used in this end-use does not pose a threat to the 
environment under CAA section 608(c)(2). EPA made these determinations 
under section 608(c)(2) in final rules issued in 2014 and 2015 (79 FR 
29682, May 23, 2014; 80 FR 19454, April 10, 2015) and did not reopen 
those determinations in this rulemaking. EPA directs the commenters to 
those rules for additional information. EPA appreciates the information 
provided by commenters with regard to the availability of recovery and 
recycling equipment.

V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Additional information about these statutes and Executive Orders 
can be found at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/laws-and-executive-orders.

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive 
Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was 
therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review.

B. Executive Order 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs

    This action is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action 
because this action is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden 
under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection 
requirements contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB 
control number 2060-0226. This rule contains no new requirements for 
reporting or recordkeeping.

D. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In 
making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant 
adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no 
net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small 
entities subject to the rule.
    The use conditions of this rule apply to manufacturers of new 
household refrigerators and freezers that choose to use flammable 
refrigerants. Today's action allows equipment manufacturers to use 
flammable refrigerants at a higher charge size than previously allowed 
in new household refrigerators and freezers but does not mandate such 
use; the change to the use conditions allows more flexibility for 
manufacturers in the design of equipment and thus reduces the 
regulatory burden to the regulated community. In some cases, it may 
reduce costs by allowing manufacturers to design equipment with a 
single, larger refrigerant circuit instead of multiple, smaller 
refrigerant circuits for the same piece of equipment.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in 
UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, 
local or tribal governments or the private sector.

F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have 
substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between 
the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in 
Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on 
tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal government 
and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities 
between the Federal government and Indian tribes, as specified in 
Executive Order 13175. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to 
this action.

[[Page 38975]]

H. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health and Safety Risks

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is 
not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and 
because EPA does not believe the environmental health or safety risks 
addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children. 
This action's health and risk assessments are contained in risk screens 
for the various substitutes.6 7 8 The risk screens are 
available in the docket for this rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ ICF, 2018a. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household 
Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Propane (R-290).
    \7\ ICF, 2018b. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household 
Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: Isobutane (R-600a).
    \8\ ICF, 2018c. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household 
Refrigerators and Freezers; Substitute: R-441A.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not a ``significant energy action'' because it is 
not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution or use of energy.

J. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) and 1 CFR 
Part 51

    This action involves a technical standard. EPA is revising the use 
conditions for the household refrigerators and freezers end-use by 
incorporating by reference UL Standard 60335-2-24, ``Safety 
Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: 
Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream 
Appliances and Ice-Makers'' (2nd edition, April 2017), which 
establishes requirements for the evaluation of household and similar 
electrical appliances, and safe use of flammable refrigerants. The 2017 
UL Standard 60335-2-24 supersedes the current edition of Supplement SA 
the 10th edition of UL Standard 250, ``Requirements for Refrigerators 
and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating 
System'' (August 2000). EPA's revision to the use conditions will 
replace Supplement SA to the 10th edition of UL Standard 250 with the 
2017 UL standard 60335-2-24. This standard is available at https://standardscatalog.ul.com/standards/en/standard_60335-2-24_2, and may be 
purchased by mail at: COMM 2000, 151 Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 
60106; Email: orders@shopulstandards.com; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in 
the U.S. or Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet 
address: http://www.shopulstandards.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productId=UL60335-2-24_2_B_20170428(ULStandards2). 
The cost of UL 60335-2-24 is $454 for an electronic copy and $567 for 
hardcopy. UL also offers a subscription service to the Standards 
Certification Customer Library (SCCL) that allows unlimited access to 
their standards and related documents. The cost of obtaining this 
standard is not a significant financial burden for equipment 
manufacturers and purchase is not required for those selling, 
installing and servicing the equipment. Therefore, EPA concludes that 
the UL standard being incorporated by reference is reasonably 
available.

K. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental 
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    The human health or environmental risk addressed by this action 
will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human 
health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous 
populations. This action's health and environmental risk assessments 
are contained in the risk screens for the various substitutes. The risk 
screens are available in the docket for this rulemaking.

L. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, and EPA will submit a rule 
report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of 
the United States. This action is not a ``major rule'' as defined by 5 
U.S.C. 804(2).

VI. References

    Unless specified otherwise, all documents are available 
electronically through the Federal Docket Management System, Docket 
#EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0472.

ASHRAE, 2016. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2016: Designation and Safety 
Classification of Refrigerants.
ICF, 2018a. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators 
and Freezers; Substitute: Propane (R-290).
ICF, 2018b. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators 
and Freezers; Substitute: Isobutane (R-600a).
ICF, 2018c. Risk Screen on Substitutes in Household Refrigerators 
and Freezers; Substitute: R-441A.
Murray, D.M., 1997. Residential house and zone volumes in the United 
States: Empirical and Estimated Parametric Distributions. Risk Anal 
17: 439-446. Available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1997.tb00884.x/full.
National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), 2016. Size of Kitchens 
in New U.S. Single Family Homes. August 2016. Available online at: 
https://nkba.myshopify.com/collections/research/products/size-of-kitchens-in-new-u-s-single-family-homes.
UL 250. Household Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. 
Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerators and Freezers Employing 
a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. August 2000.
UL 60335-2-24. Safety Requirements for Household and Similar 
Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for 
Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers. 2nd 
edition. April 2017.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 82

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, 
Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Recycling, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Stratospheric ozone layer.

    Dated: July 30, 2018.
Andrew R. Wheeler,
Acting Administrator.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 40 CFR part 82 is amended 
as follows:

PART 82--PROTECTION OF STRATOSPHERIC OZONE

0
1. The authority citation for part 82 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7414, 7601, 7671-7671q.

Subpart G--Significant New Alternatives Policy Program

0
2. Amend Appendix R to subpart G of part 82 by:
0
a. Revising the appendix heading.
0
b. Removing the two entries for ``Household refrigerators, freezers, 
and combination refrigerators and freezers (New equipment only)'' and 
adding a new entry in their place; and
0
c. Revising the NOTE to Appendix R.
    The revisions and additions to read as follows:

Appendix R to Subpart G of Part 82--Substitutes Subject to Use 
Restrictions Listed in the December 20, 2011, Final Rule, Effective 
February 21, 2012, in the April 10, 2015 Final Rule, Effective May 11, 
2015, and in the August 8, 2018 Final Rule, Effective September 7, 2018

[[Page 38976]]



                            Substitutes That Are Acceptable Subject to Use Conditions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            End-use                Substitute         Decision          Use conditions      Further information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Household refrigerators,        Isobutane (R-     Acceptable        As of September 7,     Applicable OSHA
 freezers, and combination       600a).            subject to use    2018:.                 requirements at 29
 refrigerators and freezers     Propane (R-290).   conditions.      These refrigerants      CFR part 1910 must
 (New equipment only).          R-441A..........                     may be used only in    be followed,
                                                                     new equipment          including those at
                                                                     designed               29 CFR 1910.106
                                                                     specifically and       (flammable and
                                                                     clearly identified     combustible
                                                                     for the refrigerant    liquids), 1910.110
                                                                     (i.e., none of these   (storage and
                                                                     substitutes may be     handling of
                                                                     used as a conversion   liquefied petroleum
                                                                     or ``retrofit''        gases), 1910.157
                                                                     refrigerant for        (portable fire
                                                                     existing equipment     extinguishers), and
                                                                     designed for a         1910.1000 (toxic and
                                                                     different              hazardous
                                                                     refrigerant).          substances).
                                                                    These refrigerants     Proper ventilation
                                                                     may be used only in    should be maintained
                                                                     a refrigerator or      at all times during
                                                                     freezer, or            the manufacture and
                                                                     combination            storage of equipment
                                                                     refrigerator and       containing
                                                                     freezer, that meets    hydrocarbon
                                                                     all requirements       refrigerants through
                                                                     listed in the 2nd      adherence to good
                                                                     edition of the         manufacturing
                                                                     Underwriters           practices as per 29
                                                                     Laboratories (UL)      CFR 1910.106. If
                                                                     Standard for Safety:   refrigerant levels
                                                                     Household and          in the air
                                                                     Similar Electrical     surrounding the
                                                                     Appliances--Safety--   equipment rise above
                                                                     Part 2-24:             one-fourth of the
                                                                     Particular             lower flammability
                                                                     Requirements for       limit, the space
                                                                     Refrigerating          should be evacuated
                                                                     Appliances, Ice-       and re-entry should
                                                                     Cream Appliances and   occur only after the
                                                                     Ice-Makers, UL 60335-  space has been
                                                                     2-24, dated April      properly ventilated.
                                                                     28, 2017.             Technicians and
                                                                                            equipment
                                                                                            manufacturers should
                                                                                            wear appropriate
                                                                                            personal protective
                                                                                            equipment, including
                                                                                            chemical goggles and
                                                                                            protective gloves,
                                                                                            when handling these
                                                                                            refrigerants.
                                                                                            Special care should
                                                                                            be taken to avoid
                                                                                            contact with the
                                                                                            skin since these
                                                                                            refrigerants, like
                                                                                            many refrigerants,
                                                                                            can cause freeze
                                                                                            burns on the skin.
                                                                                           A Class B dry powder
                                                                                            type fire
                                                                                            extinguisher should
                                                                                            be kept nearby.
                                                                                           Technicians should
                                                                                            only use spark-proof
                                                                                            tools when working
                                                                                            on refrigerators and
                                                                                            freezers with these
                                                                                            refrigerants.
                                                                                           Any recovery
                                                                                            equipment used
                                                                                            should be designed
                                                                                            for flammable
                                                                                            refrigerants.
                                                                                           Any refrigerant
                                                                                            releases should be
                                                                                            in a well-ventilated
                                                                                            area, such as
                                                                                            outside of a
                                                                                            building.
                                                                                           Only technicians
                                                                                            specifically trained
                                                                                            in handling
                                                                                            flammable
                                                                                            refrigerants should
                                                                                            service
                                                                                            refrigerators and
                                                                                            freezers containing
                                                                                            these refrigerants.
                                                                                            Technicians should
                                                                                            gain an
                                                                                            understanding of
                                                                                            minimizing the risk
                                                                                            of fire and the
                                                                                            steps to use
                                                                                            flammable
                                                                                            refrigerants safely.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: The use conditions in this appendix contain references to certain standards from Underwriters Laboratories
  Inc. (UL). The standards are incorporated by reference, and the referenced sections are made part of the
  regulations in part 82:
1. UL 471. Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers. 10th edition. Supplement SB: Requirements for Refrigerators
  and Freezers Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
  November 24, 2010.
2. UL 484. Room Air Conditioners. 8th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Room Air Conditioners Employing a
  Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System and Appendices B through F. December 21, 2007, with changes
  through August 3, 2012.
3. UL 541. Refrigerated Vending Machines. 7th edition. Supplement SA: Requirements for Refrigerated Venders
  Employing a Flammable Refrigerant in the Refrigerating System. December 30, 2011.
4. UL Standard 60335-2-24. Standard for Safety: Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances,--
  Safety--Part 2-24: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers,
  Second edition, dated April 28, 2017.

    The Director of the Federal Register approves the incorporation 
by reference of the material under ``Use Conditions'' in the table 
``SUBSTITUTES THAT ARE ACCEPTABLE SUBJECT TO USE CONDITIONS'' (5 
U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51). Copies of UL Standards 471, 484, 
541, and 60335-2-24, may be purchased by mail at: COMM 2000, 151 
Eastern Avenue, Bensenville, IL 60106; Email: 
orders@shopulstandards.com; Telephone: 1-888-853-3503 in the U.S. or 
Canada (other countries dial 1-415-352-2178); internet address: 
http://www.shopulstandards.com/Catalog.aspx.
    You may inspect a copy at U.S. EPA's Air Docket; EPA West 
Building, Room 3334; 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC or at 
the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For 
questions regarding access to these standards, the telephone number 
of EPA'S Air Docket is 202-566-1742. For information on the 
availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: 
https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2018-16773 Filed 8-7-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P