Friday, November 19, 2021

Miami chemical vice?

Via Chemical and Engineering News' Cheryl Hogue, this funny tidbit about phased-out CFCs during the 1990s: 
Organized criminal entities “could be trafficking in something else, but they choose climate super-pollutants” over other items, such as illicit drugs, because of profitability, said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group that probes and exposes environmental crime worldwide

A similar situation happened when the US ratcheted down its production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1990s, von Bismarck said. Border agents began to find canisters of CFC-12 (also known as R-12) in the small, fast boats that drug runners used to sneak shipments of cocaine into the US. “What was found is that the risk-adjusted return was better for smugglers from R-12 than it was from cocaine,” simply because enforcement agencies didn’t place much importance on refrigerants, von Bismarck said. Then, border enforcement officers in Florida began to seek out refrigerants as well as drugs. “That had an enormous impact on the climate” by keeping CFCs, which are also greenhouse gases, off the market, he said. Eventually, HFCs replaced CFCs in many applications.

Funny to wonder what the border agents were thinking when they saw all those canisters...

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