The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1998 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

'TRANSITION TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL'

Julien M. Roy, BA, RRT

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. The treaty was originally signed in 1987 and substantially amended in 1990 and 1992. The Montreal Protocol stipulates that the production and consumption of compounds that deplete ozone in the atmosphere -- chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform -- are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform). Scientific theory and evidence suggest that, once emitted to the atmosphere, these compounds could significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer that shields the planet from damaging UV-B radiation.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) contained in metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) contribute to this depletion of the ozone layer and in accordance with the protocol phase-out strategies have been developed worldwide for this category of agents. Alternatives to CFC-containing inhalers have been developed, such as powder inhalers and those using hydrofluoroalkanes (HFAs) as propellants, which have been shown to be as safe and effective as CFC-containing inhalers and even offer interesting advantages over older inhalers. The transition to non-CFC MDIs requires a major effort to make the new products available and to ensure adequate comparison with the previous ones.

The 3M Pharmaceuticals CFC-free metered-dose inhaler was first launched in the United Kingdom in March 1995 and has since received approval in more than 30 countries around the world, including the United States.

The 44th International Respiratory Congress Abstracts-On-DiskĀ®, November 7 - 10, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia.

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