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The EPA Strikes Again

Environment

PrimateneMist is an over-the-counter (OTC) inhaler that has been used safely by millions of people for more than 46 years to help them cope with their asthma. It was the only OTC inhaler available to the public before it was banned for sale by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on January 1, 2012. The EPA banned the inhaler to comply with yet another international treaty — in this case, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This treaty determined that CFCs, otherwise known as chlorofluorocarbons, damage the ozone layer and should be outlawed.

CFCs help propel the Primatene Mist into a person's lungs, and this is where it gets interesting. In November 2008, when the EPA instituted the ban, it was assumed that a replacement OTC inhaler would be available for purchase at drug stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores by the beginning of 2012. They were mistaken. Today, there is still no OTC emergency inhaler available for the two to three million people who regularly used Primatene Mist before the ban.

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