Halon is effective, fairly inexpensive, and non-toxic. But it's a
bromofluorocarbon, a close relation to the disreputable chlorofluocarbon [CFC] family of
chemicals that is implicated, in depletion of the ozone layer that protects the planet
from excessive ultraviolet radiation. Halon is several times more ozone-destructive than
its Freon refrigerant cousins, which explains why it was the first to be banned-by
international treaty. Halon Will be gone after this year.
Several environmentally friendlier alternatives to Halon are being: readied. Some
companies will use DuPont FE241, a hydro-chlorofluocarbon. Some will use combinations :of:
atmospheric gases (nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide, for example) And still other
compounds used overseas are being considered. It appears that there will be several
competitive products to replace Halon. All are now being tested and rated for
effectiveness and environmental approval.
All of the agents under consideration will require greater quantities, are more
expensive, and in involve higher working pressure than Halon. So whatever happens,
something's seem certain Extinguisher will be bigger, heavier, and more expensive. How
much so remains to be seen but substantially" is a safe bet.
In the mean time, Halon extinguishers in use will not be recalled, and
extinguishers in dealer inventory can continue to be sold, although we'd expect them to
disappear rapidly. Industrial stocks of Halon can continue to be used after January 1 to
make new extinguishers but a harsh new tax of $43.50 per pound will probably mean few will
want to keep the stuff around. That will certainly impact the cost and availability of
Halon for maintaining extinguishers now in use.