Make no mistake, the race to develop and manufacture a safe alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CECs) is a hotly contested one. But fierce competition notwithstanding, the contenders in the race have banded together to shorten one key leg of what promises to be a marathon. Eight CFC producers from around the world—Du Pont, AKZO, Allied-Signal, Atochem, Daikin, ISC Chemicals, Pennwalt, and Solvay and Co—have agreed to share toxicity test information on HCFC-1 41 b, one CFC alternative. By coordinating the $2 million-to-$3 million research, the companies hope to have results in five years rather than six or seven.

Meanwhile, the eight firms are battling to be the first to develop the processes by which alternatives will be manufactured. But a Du Pont spokesperson admits that the companies are taking a gamble by investigating manufacturing procedures before toxicity testing is completed. If the toxicity tests reveal the alternatives as carcinogenic, much time...

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