Air-horn alarm sounded

December 4, 2001

A Manitoba environmental protection group is sounding an alarm over air horns that contain substances that can harm the ozone layer.

The Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association (MOPIA) said two brands of air horns—the noisemakers often used at football and hockey games—contain tetrafluoroethane, a gas used for its cooling properties.

The gas reportedly contributes to climate change, and under provincial legislation, products using tetrafluoroethane may not be sold in Manitoba.

MOPIA executive director Mark Miller said the American-manufactured gadgets, dubbed the Safety Sport Horn and the Marine Sport Horn, initially flew under the radar, but stores have now been warned. Those that don’t pull the horns from their shelves could face up to a $500,000 fine.

Miller said shoppers looking for other options can try everything from a pea-containing whistle to a horn containing only compressed C02.

“There are definitely alternatives available for people who wants to use those types of products, that don’t use climate change or even ozone-depleting substances,” he said.

MOPIA is also in the process of warning stores about another banned product, certain aerosol compressed-air cans used to dust computers and other electronics. The offending chemical is difluoroethane, which can also contribute to climate change.

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