PRIO – A tool for Risk Reduction of Chemicals

Criteria for assessing whether the substance is a phase-out substance - Ozone-depleting substances

The phasing-out of substances that deplete the ozone layer is regulated in the EU through European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) 2037/2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Council regulation from 1988 fulfils the requirements of the Montreal Protocol (*28) from 1987, while later versions have been stricter than the Montreal Protocol. The EU's current regulation has an earlier phase-out date than the Montreal Protocol with regard to halons, CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, HCFCs, methyl bromide and bromochloromethane. The phase-out rate for HCFCs is also faster than in the Montreal Protocol. The bringing-forward of the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances by the EU has affected the revision of the Montreal Protocol. During the negotiations to revise the Montreal Protocol, it has been of great significance that an important group of countries has already adopted more stringent measures.

The assessment on whether to add substances to the Montreal Protocol list of substances that can cause damage to the ozone layer is partly based on the substance, so called, ozone depletion potential (ODP) and is made by the expert panel of the Montreal Protocol.

 *28 The international co-operation to protect the ozone layer is governed by a convention under the UN environmental body, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This convention consists of a framework agreement (the Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer) and another treaty (the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer). The countries that have undertaken to support the provisions of the Convention and Treaty are known as parties.

The Montreal Protocol, which was signed in 1987, contains binding agreements with regard to reduced use and production of CFCs and halons. The greatest gain with the Montreal Protocol is that it is revised regularly. The revisions are based on scientific, technical, economic and environmental evaluations made by the expert panel of the Montreal Protocol. This has led to a dynamic protocol that develops in line with new research findings and technical innovations. More than 183 countries have ratified the 1987 Montreal Protocol.