Halon Information Clearinghouse Webpage
for the English-Speaking Caribbean

A web site managed by the Department of Chemistry at the University of West Indies


About the HIC

 

FAQ about the Halon Information Clearinghouse

 

What is the HIC?

The Halon Information Clearinghouse is one of a number of activities in the English-speaking Caribbean that are aimed at assisting the countries of the region with the smooth and effective phase-out of halon.

The Clearinghouse provides a link between companies in the region interested in purchasing recycled or reclaimed halon with others wishing to sell it. You will also find information on the efforts being made in the region and around the world, to gradually eliminate their consumption of halon. Finally, the Clearinghouse includes links to other halon sites world-wide for relevant and up-to-date information on halon alternatives, halon recovery, recycling and reclamation, as well as other halon-related issues.

Back to Top

What are halons?

Halons are a group of bromine containing, hydrogen-free compounds that are used primarily for fire-fighting. The most widely used halons, both worldwide and in the English-Speaking Caribbean, are known as halon 1211 and halon 1301. Halon 1211 is used in portable fire extinguishers, while halon 1301 is used in fixed fire extinguishing systems.

 

Back to Top

Why phase out halon usage?

Halons as a group are highly destructive of the ozone layer, which protects us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The bromine in halon molecules is released through the photochemical decomposition of the parent compound, in a similar fashion to the release of chlorine from chlorofluorocarbons (the more familiar CFCs). The bromine thus released from halons can also catalyse the destruction of ozone molecules. The end result of ozone destruction has been the thinning of the ozone layer, the formation of the "ozone hole" over Antarctica, and an overall increase in the levels of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth's surface.

Both of the two common halons in use in the English-speaking Caribbean have high ozone-depleting potentials - a measure of the destructive power of the halon molecule. Halon 1211 has an ozone-depleting potential (ODP) of 3, which means that it is three times more damaging to the ozone layer as CFC-11 (used as the reference point for assigning ODPs). Halon 1301, the other common halon in use in the region, has an ODP of 10.

Over the last two decades, concerted efforts by the global community have reduced the levels of ozone depleting substances of all kinds, including halons, and achieving a marked improvement in the levels of ozone in the ozone layer.

Back to Top

What can I do if I want to trade in used halons?

Review the Database. First, review the Database and see what kinds and amounts of halon are available for trade. If you wish to buy, and contact information is provided on the database, you can contact the person directly.

Contact the HIC managers. If there is no direct contact information provided on the database, you may contact the HIC managers who will then be able to act as the liaison between buyer and seller. If you have used halon to trade, you can have that information added to the database. Simply send a message indicating the type, amount and storage conditions of the halon that you have available to trade. The information will be added to the database, which can then be viewed by others.

Check the UNEP On-Line Halon Trader. Consider establishing an account with the UNEP On-Line Halon Trader. This international halon trading site provides their members with a way to find out about the possibilities for buying and selling halon globally. The Halon Trader website is updated regularly, and would provide you with a wider market for your used halon. In a short time, the Halon Trader website will also have a regional section, which would house information about halons available for trade in the Caribbean.

Back to Top