Safety Alert: Online Sales of Cool Penguin F-12

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently identified online sales of a product marketed as “Cool Penguin F-12” for use in motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs). While the product appears to be marketed as CFC-12, some of the cans contain a mixture of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), such as CFC-12, CFC-114, HCFC-142b, and HCFC-22, along with non-ozone depleting components, including HFC-134a and R-40. Different cans tested by the EPA contained varying amounts of some or all these substances. Under current Clean Air Act regulations, the import of cans containing any percent of the ODS listed above into the United States is illegal. In addition, no person may sell, distribute or offer for sale or distribution any regulated ODS that they know, or have reason to know, was imported illegally. No version of Cool Penguin F-12 has been submitted for evaluation as an alternative under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program; thus, Cool Penguin F-12 has not been listed as acceptable for use in MVACs.

If you use Cool Penguin F-12 in your MVAC system, it may pose a safety risk to you and your vehicle. In particular, R-40 (chloromethane) is toxic and has the potential to explode under certain conditions. Combinations of other constituents of Cool Penguin F-12 may pose additional safety risks, and due to the varying makeup of individual cans, each could affect your system differently and could even harm your system. The unpredictable makeup could also pose a problem during the refrigerant recovery process.

Whenever you purchase a refrigerant, make sure you know what it contains, whether it is approved by the EPA for use in MVACs, and whether using it will void your car’s warranty. If you see any refrigerants for sale that violate the Clean Air Act or other regulations, please report the products to the EPA at

For more information on MVAC servicing, please visit

To visit the MACS website visit

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Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the clean air act

By Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training

It was 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday, November 15, 1991. politicians and media met in the East Room at the White House to greet President George H. W. Bush just moments before he signed the most comprehensive update to our nation’s environmental laws in 30 years.

Of course, I’m talking about the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which received overwhelming bipartisan support. Specifically, these amendments were designed to curb four major threats to the environment and public health: acid rain, urban air pollution, toxic air emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion. The amendments also established a national operating permits program and strengthened enforcement.

They featured several progressive and creative new approaches for effectively achieving the air quality goals and regulatory reform expected from these far-reaching amendments. A summary of EPA documents explains.

Air quality

• Air quality has improved significantly in our nation, reducing health threats, such as lung damage, asthma, heart attacks and premature death. All 41 areas that had unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide pollution in 1991 now have levels that meet the health-based national air quality standard. More than 90% of areas originally identified as not meeting the 1997 ozone air quality standards now meet those standards. Since 1990, particle pollution levels have improved by 36%.

• Performance standards for new vehicles are met by a combination of cleaner fuels and vehicle technologies. Under the 1990 amendments, new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, heavy-duty trucks and buses have become dramatically cleaner. The same is true of non-road engines such as those used in industrial, farm and recreational equipment, locomotives and marine vessels.

• State and EPA programs to cut interstate air pollution have reduced pollution regionally and have helped most downwind areas to meet the 1997 and 2006 air quality standards for ozone and fine particles.

Acid rain and regional haze

• An innovative market-based system of pollution allowances has dramatically cut sulfur dioxide emissions, reducing acid rain as well as fine particle pollution that contributes to premature death. This federal program also has significantly reduced damage to water quality in lakes and streams and has improved the health of ecosystems and forests.

• In addition, the scenic vistas in our national parks are clearer due to reductions in pollution caused haze.

Toxic air pollution

• Industrial and other stationary sources emit about 1.5 million tons less toxic air pollution per year than in 1990. These standards set a level playing field by requiring higher emitting sources to achieve the cleaner level of performance achieved by the best performing similar sources.

Ozone layer protection

• To protect the ozone layer, the U.S. has phased out the ozone depleting substances that Congress identified as “most damaging,” including CFCs (in our case, R-12 refrigerant) and halons, while promoting cost-effective alternatives. Actions to protect the ozone layer are saving millions of people from contracting fatal skin cancers and eye cataracts over periods of several decades.

A peer-reviewed EPA study found that the 1990 Amendments are achieving large health benefits that will grow further over time. For example, the study estimates that in 2020, the Clean Air Act Amendments will avoid more than 230,000 early deaths, as well as large numbers of other adverse health effects, through improvements in fine particle and ozone levels.

The economic value of the air quality improvements is estimated to reach almost $2 trillion for 2020, a value which vastly exceeds the costs of efforts to comply with the 1990 Clean Air Act.

Although important air pollution challenges remain, and we have much work left to do, the 1990 Amendments have had impressive results.

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Disinfecting of vehicles during COVID-19

By Ward Atkinson, MACS Technical Advisor, & Bill Hill, GM Retired

Recent comments from government agencies on the COVID-19 virus issue indicate that even when a vaccine is available, our normal daily existence may not get back to normal before the third or fourth quarter of 2021.

What does the automotive service industry need to be aware of when conducting our daily business? You should be knowledgeable of what products and equipment you ought to be using when cleaning vehicles before and after service.

It has now been widely accepted that COVID-19 spreads from person to person when people cough, sneeze, talk and laugh. These actions send airborne virus droplets into the air. COVID-19 aerosol droplets have two phases: large droplets and small particle aerosols. Aerosols can travel a great distance and remain for extended periods of time. (Like dust in air). Aerosols can also remain in airflow in confined areas (i.e., vehicle passenger compartments) and in A/C ducts.

The COVID-19 virus is 120 nanometers in size. MVAC filters will not filter it. Installation of a HEPA filter to filter particles of this size will reduce airflow and performance. Wear face masks with two or more material layers. Cotton masks will not filter.

COVID-19 disinfecting cleaning procedures vary, and none are fully validated for a vehicle. Vehicle OEMs report damage to door handles by use of disinfectant’s (liquids/hand wipes).

EPA has 497 products listed to be only used on hard, non-porous surfaces, NOT humans. The list does not clarify if the product may damage vehicle trim. “Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement by EPA.”

FDA covers products, including chemicals and equipment, for use by humans. FDA lists 194 hand sanitizer products not to use.

Solutions containing 70 percent ethanol or isopropyl alcohol and water are effective against coronavirus. One MSDS lists isopropyl alcohol with distilled water 70-30% as having a flammability rating. Water content slows evaporation, increasing effectiveness of surface contact time. Concentrations higher than 80-85% decreases disinfectant effectiveness. If an ignition (flame) source is present, alcohol hand sanitizer should not be applied.

What not to do when cleaning vehicle interiors

Don’t use bleach (chlorine) or hydrogen peroxide on inside vehicle surfaces. Both kill coronaviruses on surfaces but can damage car’s interior trim.

Do not use ammonia-based cleaners on car touch screens. They can damage anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.

Use of solar and/or vehicle heater to raise cabin surface temperatures is not practical to kill the virus. It is difficult to raise all cabin surfaces to the same required temperature to kill the virus.  Research studies indicate COVID-19 in aerosol form becomes inactive (shortest time of survival) at 60 0 C (140 0 F) air temperature after four hours or five minutes at 70 0 C (158 0 F).  SARS required 56 C 0 (132.8 F) for 15 minutes. (WHO)

Soap and water may not entirely remove the virus. When cleaning upholstery, using too much water or soap may result in wet fabric and cushions causing musty smells or mold growth.

Disinfecting Vehicle Cabins

The best approach is: When working on the vehicle, service technicians need to take all the precautions they are comfortable with to protect themselves and the customer.

Visit the MACS website at

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Proceeding with caution

View MACS 2021 Training Event Program

As essential businesses, most of us have been up and running through the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing through today, eight months later. We have adapted to the new environment and continue to serve our customers with care, doing our part to keep the wheels turning and helping other essential workers perform their important roles.

Just as we feel an obligation to our customers and the motoring public, MACS feels an obligation to perform its essential role in service to our members and the industry.

The annual MACS Training Event and Trade Show is the only training event and trade show exclusively for the mobile air conditioning and cooling industry.

It is the sole venue where MACS members can gather for unique training, maintain and grow industry contacts, share information, meet face-to-face with vendors, and celebrate the accomplishments of their peers.

As I write this, we are still more than three months out from our 2021 annual event to be held in Orlando, and we are proceeding with planning and execution of that meeting with all due caution.

While none of us has a crystal ball and can predict what the next three months will bring, it is heartening to see the positive response of trainers, supporting companies, and all of those who have traditionally supported this important forum. I encourage the reader to review the program at the center spread of the magazine, detailing the premium training offerings, and opportunities for networking and the crucial exchange of ideas.

MACS is planning our 2021 Training Event with careful consideration to the current pandemic and is including safety and security measures as we move forward to create a valuable training and networking experience.

I hope to see you there!

Click here to view the entire MACS Training Program for the 2021 Training Event and Trade Show, February 3-6, in Orlando, FL at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

Click here to register to attend MACS 2021 Training Event at MACS website or call the MACS office at 215-631-7020 x 309, 313 or 311.

Click here
to reserve a hotel room at the Rosen Centre, MACS host hotel in Orlando, FL. MACS room rate is $195 (single or double plus tax) or call (800) 204-7234 or (407) 996-9840.

Visit MACS website at

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Modern cabin heating

By Frank Tonon, Qualification and training director, CPA Montreal

Cabin heating through the years
The evolution of climate control in the past century has gone through several changes. From heated stones, coal burning boxes or exhaust gas heaters which had their own hazards and health concerns for the passengers. In the mid-1920s, the water heater was introduced as more and more liquid cooled engines were produced. But one thing has not changed, periodic maintenance is the only way to ensure the longevity of any machinery.
In the past few decades, the heater core has not as gone through multiple changes. We have seen incredible changes, cooling liquids and scientific terms for multiple causes of failures in this system. So, let’s look at some of the main requirements to ensure that the passenger compartment temperature can be controlled has adequately and safely as possible.

Manual controls
The cabin heating has evolved very rapidly, and many electronic devices were added to ensure comfort. The basic system was to get coolant from the engine to the heater core. The controls were quite simple which included three main functions. Set air outlet from the ventilation knob or lever, set the temperature and air speed. If too hot or too cold, simply play with the controls until you approximately get what you desired. Some models included a sophisticated vacuum circuit that would cut off the circulation to the heater core called the water valve. The water valve was often used with the air conditioning system to reduce heat to the nearby evaporator that would increase system pressure or cause the compartment cooling to be affected.

(Read More)

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How do I obtain a copy of my MACS or IMACA Section 609 credentials?

Section 609 certification credentials are good for life. This means they do not expire. If you were Section 609 certified and obtained your credentials from MACS or IMACA and have lost them, you may obtain replacement credentials by re-ordering them.

Use this form to apply for new credentials. Fill it out completely as the more information we have the easier it is to find your data record.

If you have applied to us for a reprint not in the MACS or IMACA databases, your deposit will be retained by MACS to pay for the search and other processing involved.

We suggest that you do not apply to us for a reprint unless you are sure that you have been certified by either MACS or IMACA. If you were certified by ASE, or another vendor you must call that vendor not MACS. Do not send in your form request more than once or you will be charged for every time we receive it.

You can fax your form with payment to to 215-631-7017 or mail it to:

P.O. Box 88
Lansdale, PA 19446

Questions? 215-631-7020 x 305, 309, 313 or 311

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Register now for MACS Section 609 webinar on November 12

Can’t attend a Section 609 class in person? Attend online with MACS on Wednesday, November 12 at 2pm. Can’t make it at 2pm the class will be recorded to view when you have time. Cost for the online Section 609 test and webinar is $45. Visit to register or call the MACS office at 215-631-7020 x 309, 313 or 311 to register.

Have you lost your MACS Section 609 credential and need a replacement?
Click here and follow the directions to obtain a new card. The replacement fee is $10.
Questions? Email

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Hazmats: Why should I care?

by Charlie Ayers

Trivia question: what do R-134a, Lithium Ion batteries, air bag modules, and used fuel system components all have in common? Aside from the fact that these are all in-use in today’s vehicles, they are all also classified as Hazardous Materials (i.e. hazmats) by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The same holds true for these products in Canada, where the governing body (Transport Canada) has similar designations for what they call ‘Dangerous Goods’ (i.e. hazmats).

Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter C (49 CFR) strictly regulates the transportation of hazardous materials. DOT requires individuals to receive initial (i.e. within 90 days of starting on the job) and recurring (i.e. at least once every three [3] years) training if they:

• Load, unload, or handle hazardous materials (such as those located in shipping and receiving)
• Prepare hazardous materials for transportation
• Are responsible for hazardous materials transportation safety, or
• Operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials (such as a parts driver)

Most, if not all, of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have published various Service Bulletins and communications* addressing this very subject. Why? Because today’s modern vehicles have many more hazmat components than they used to have (and the trend is to expect even more in the years to come). That, in addition to the ongoing Takata airbag recall efforts, have those of us in the vehicle service industry more aware of hazmat-handling best-practices than ever before. (Read more)

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Today, September 16, is World Ozone Day!

On 19 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 16 September the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date, in 1987, on which the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed.

States are invited to devote the Day each year to promote, at the national level, activities in accordance with the objectives of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments.

Please refer to the Ozone Day webpage in the OzonAction website for more information on world efforts to protect the ozone layer and our environment.

One way to help protect the ozone layer is to for professional automotive technicians working on mobile A/C systems to be educated in the proper procedures for refrigerant recovery and recycling through Section 609 certification with the Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS). Visit MACS website to complete this valuable training. Email us at Call us at 215-631-7020

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Bringing in business in tough times

By Angie Chabot, AAM

As the world battles a pandemic, businesses, like yours, are battling to keep customers coming in the doors. Just when it seems that every penny must be spent wisely, it also is a prime time to look outside the industry for marketing ideas that can bring both current and future customers into your shop. Here are a couple that Stacy Tuschl, a local business marketing consultant and owner of two performing arts studios, provided recently during an interview with Social Media Examiner, a social media marketing blog.

Angie Chabot, AAM

Growing organic social media exposure

Tuschl dropped a number of social media tips during her interview, and this is one that works across any industry. Band together with a few other businesses that offer completely different services or products, such as florists, massage therapists, gas stations or dry cleaners, and create a giveaway or contest that each business promotes on its social media platform. The beauty of this type of partnership is that you will be cross-promoting each other’s businesses to a whole new set of audiences, ones who may have never heard of you before.

By limiting participation to only one type of business in the promotion, no one is competing with each other. Each participating business provides a prize or giveaway of predetermined equal value, and they are combined into one – or several – packages. Turn it into a scavenger hunt, or an online puzzle that people have to watch in order to find a daily question for the week. Whatever you and your band of fellow small business owners can come up with should be easy and fun for people to follow. But most of all, make sure it brings people in your door to learn more about your services. (Read More)

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