Ok, so who knows exactly what is inside their spray duster, you know that handy aerosol that is just perfect for blasting away at those pesky bits of dirt and debris in our keyboards; I mean, what’s not to love? I’m guessing my question is far too easy and you would like something a little more challenging! Alright, how are you on the F-Gas Regulations and all the changes that they will bring to the most popular non-flammable spray dusters? Believe it or not, it’s time to wave goodbye to your current non-flammable spray duster…..
It’s a common misconception that a spray duster is simply a can of compressed air, but this is far from the truth. Propellants are utilised within the product and it is the choice of propellants that have led to the development of many different technologies over the years. Back in the day, spray dusters were filled with Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and these were non-flammable propellants that offered good performance but they caused serious damage to the ozone layer. Following some legislative changes in 1989, the CFCs were phased out due to their ozone depleting power. Since that time, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), such as HFC-134a, have been the main leader in spray dusters with butane and other organic gasses also being used.
European legislation (Regulation EC No 846/2006) has been put in place in recent years to tackle the growing problem of ozone depletion from HFC usage and the restrictions are growing limiting usage. For example, did you know that there has been an outright ban on use of refrigerants in cars since 2011? There have been changes and upgrades to the legislation and the current regulations are even wider reaching.
Some key legislation (F-Gas Regulations) is due to come into force on January 1st 2018 and this basically means that any propellant used can have a maximum GWP of no greater than 150. The consequences for spray dusters as we currently know them are far reaching. It’s time for us all to take our heads out of the sand, brush ourselves down and review the situation whilst time is still on our side………
Let’s talk it through and understand the key points:
I keep hearing the acronym GWP bandied around – what is it?
GWP stands for Global Warming Potential and is calculated based on the propellant used in an aerosol. The current aerosols using HFC gases have GWP’s in excess of 150.
I like the current spray duster and I am reluctant to change
Sorry, these change are happening; it is inevitable.
Why are the regulations changing?
The HFC gas currently used has a very high GWP.
Are flammable spray dusters affected by the legislation?
No, the legislative changes do not affect flammable spray dusters.
Can flammable spray dusters be used in exactly the same way as my current spray duster?
Absolutely not. There are very strict safety precautions to be observed when using flammable spray dusters; for example, they must never be used on live equipment.
So, just to be clear, will I be able to purchase my current non-flammable spray duster containing HFC gas after 1st January 2018?
No, this product will not be available to purchase.
Why couldn’t some other non-flammable gases be used; surely there are alternatives?
Yes, there are but at a cost; to be precise, double the cost of your current spray duster. Some fluorinated gas (Hydrofluoroolefin) HFO products became available a few years ago and are still available.
Would use of compressed air be an option?
No, afraid not. Compressed air whilst cheap and readily available it does not offer long term powerful spray dusters, they tend to lose their power after 3 or 4 sprays.
Are there any drop in replacements that tick all the right boxes (non-flammable, fully compliant, great price point, minimal GWP)?
Most spray duster manufacturers have been working on replacement solutions for over two years now and my advice would be to speak to your suppliers to see what drop in options are available.
So you see, like a train running along a track bound for its destination without a station stop in sight, this legislation is moving ever nearer and is unstoppable. The time to take stock and look for your replacement is NOW.