Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) systems do not pose a serious risk to human health under normal and foreseeable conditions of use, according to a scientific review published today by the European Commission.
In September 2012, the manufacturer Daimler raised concerns about the safety of the use of the refrigerant R134a, which has a high level of impact on climate change, in their vehicles. These concerns were challenged by other manufacturers. This situation led the KBA (Kraftfahrt Bundesamt), the German market surveillance authorities, to proceed with its own testing.
The review of the 2013 KBA testing procedures was conducted as a confidence-building measure that the Commission had proposed to the Member-States. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) also reviewed the testing procedures.
The review reaffirmed the European Commission’s position that the automotive manufacturers have the means to mitigate the inherent risks of the use of the refrigerant. The refrigerant is not the only fluid used in vehicles that is flammable or that may cause formation of dangerous emissions when burning. Automotive manufacturers, as part of their responsibility to provide for safe products, have found ways to mitigate these risks in a way that is consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons.
In the context of the review, some measures to further improve MAC safety have also been discussed, such as release valves in MAC circuits, fire extinguisher, reduction of hot surfaces (thermal insulation) and additional ventilation.