The European Commission has set out guidelines for phasing out the use of ozone-depleting CFCs in medical inhalers. In a communication published yesterday, the Commission calls on national health authorities to refuse marketing approval for any new metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) containing CFCs, and to speed up approval of those that are CFC-free. MDIs are used by asthma sufferers to alleviate asthma symptoms. There are 25m sufferers in the EU, according to the Commission, and the number is growing by 5% annually. The communication follows a decision by parties to the Montreal protocol on the protection of the ozone layer that MDIs no longer require an "essential use" exemption from CFC controls since alternatives have now been developed. The Commission estimates that the EU's transition to non-CFC inhalers should be complete by 2003. The EU manufactures half of the world's annual output of 500 million inhalers which account for about 10,000 tonnes of CFCs per year.
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