Earth, Climate & Environment

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Regulation

To combat the problem of ozone thinning, in 1978 the U.S. Congress banned CFCs used in aerosols in the United States. In 1987, 27 nations signed an international agreement called the Montréal Protocol, calling for a 50 percent reduction in CFC production by 1998 and an eventual end to all manufacture of CFCs. Later amendments accelerated the timetable for eliminating CFC production. The Montréal Protocol has been remarkably successful in curtailing production of CFCs. More than 175 nations have ratified the protocol.

Scientists have worked hard to find alternatives to CFCs that spare the ozone layer. Alternative refrigerants have completely replaced CFCs in the United States and substantial progress has been made finding alternatives for foam products and air conditioning. Many of the alternatives have the added bonus of being highly energy efficient, helping the United States and other countries meet goals of reduced global warming emissions.