Science Inventory

FAULT TREE ANALYSIS FOR EXPOSURE TO REFRIGERANTS USED FOR AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONING IN THE U.S.

Citation:

Jetter*, J J., R. Forte*, N. Rubenstein, AND R. Rubenstein*. FAULT TREE ANALYSIS FOR EXPOSURE TO REFRIGERANTS USED FOR AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONING IN THE U.S. RISK ANALYSIS. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 21(1):157-70, (2001).

Description:

A fault tree analysis was used to estimate the number of refrigerant exposures of automotive service technicians and vehicle occupants in the United States. Exposures of service technicians can occur when service equipment or automotive air-conditioning systems leak during servicing. The number of refrigerant exposures of service technicians was estimated to be 135,000 per year. Exposures of vehicle occupants can occur when refrigerant enters passenger compartments due to sudden leaks in air-conditioning systems, leaks following servicing, or leaks caused by collisions. The total number of exposures of vehicle occupants was estimated to be 3,600 per year. The largest number of exposures of vehicle occupants was estimated for leaks caused by collisions, and the second largest number of exposures was estimated for leaks following servicing. Estimates used in the fault tree analysis were based on a survey of automotive air-conditioning service shops, the best available data from the literature, and the engineering judgement of the authors and expert reviewers from the Society of Automotive Engineers Interior Climate Control Standards Committee. Exposure concentrations and durations were estimated and compared with toxicity data for refrigerants currently used in automotive air conditioners. Uncertainty was high for the estimated numbers of exposures, exposure concentrations, and exposure durations. Uncertainty could be reduced in the future by conducting more extensive surveys, measurements of refrigerant concentrations, and exposure monitoring. Nevertheless, the analysis indicated that the risk of exposure of service technicians and vehicle occupants is significant, and it is recommended that no refrigerant that is substantially more toxic than currently available substitutes be accepted for use in vehicle air-conditioning systems, absent a means of mitigating exposure.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 04/01/2001
Record Last Revised: 12/22/2005
Record ID: 65433

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL DIVISION

INDOOR ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT BRANCH