Substances stable in the atmosphere

Substances stable in the atmosphere are synthetic compounds with a high global warming potential and a long residence time in the atmosphere. Emissions of substances stable in the atmosphere thus contribute to global warming. Their use in Switzerland is regulated in Annex 1.5 of the Chemicals Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem).

Legal basis

Substances stable in the atmosphere include (according to Annex 1.5, number 1, paragraph 1 ORRChem):

  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) pursuant to Annex F of the Montreal Protocol;
  • other fluorinated organic compounds with a vapour pressure of at least 0.1 mbar at 20ºC or whose boiling point does not exceed 240ºC at 1013.25 mbar, and which have a mean atmospheric lifetime of at least 2 years ;
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6); and
  • nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

For these substances, the following regulations apply:  

Prohibitions

The use of substances stable in the atmosphere is prohibited (Annex 1.5, number 6.1 ORRChem). The placing on the market, including the import, of preparations and articles containing such substances is also prohibited (Annex 1.5, number 4.1 ORRChem).

Exemptions

There are direct exemptions from the ban on the use of substances stable in the atmosphere for certain uses in accordance with Annex 1.5, number 6.2, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the ORRChem.

Furthermore, the above-mentioned bans do not apply to the placing on the market of preparations and articles and to the use of substances stable in the atmosphere, if permitted under in accordance with the following Annexes of the ORRChem:

In addition, the FOEN may grant an exemption permit for further uses of substances stable in the atmosphere on a well-founded application if, according to the state of the technology, no substitute is available, the quantity and global warming potential of the substances stable in the atmosphere used are no greater than is necessary for the intended purpose according to the state of the technology, and emissions of substances stable in the atmosphere are kept as low as possible throughout the life cycle of the intended use (Annex 1.5, 6.3, ORRChem).

Authorisation requirement for the import and export of hydrofluorocarbons pursuant to Annex F of the Montreal Protocol

Since 1 June 2019, the import and export of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) has been subject to an authorization requirement pursuant to Annex F of the Montreal Protocol (Annex 1.5, numbers 4.3.1 and 5.1, ORRChem). The authorization requirement serves in particular to monitor compliance with the HFC consumption planned for Switzerland in accordance with its international obligations (see diagram).

HFC consumption in Switzerland (until 2018)

The import of these HFCs requires an import permit issued by the FOEN, which is only granted if the HFCs are intended for a permissible use or an exemption permit has been issued. The licence is granted as a general import licence (Annex 1.5, number 4.3 ORRChem).

The export of more than 20 kg of these HFCs requires an export permit issued by the FOEN as an individual export permit (Annex 1.5, number 5 ORRChem).

For a list of HFCs subject to authorisation, see:  

Further information

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Last modification 15.11.2019

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