SF6 in medical applications

With its chemical stability, excellent electric insulating and arc-quenching properties, SF6 is widely used in the medical sector. The gas is most commonly used in the electrical insulation of advanced imaging equipment including CT scanners, Linear Accelerators and MRI scanners. It is even used in some ophthalmology procedures.

However, despite the many benefits of SF6, it is a greenhouse gas governed by the Kyoto Protocol’s F gas regulations. SF6 is the most damaging gas currently in use and, if released to the atmosphere, will cause massive damage to the environment as it has a GWP (Global warming potential) of over 23,000 times that of CO2.

Managing SF6 safely within the medical sector

Although, as we highlight above, SF6 is prominent within the medical sector it isn’t specifically detailed within the F Gas regulations. Unfortunately, this means that it is a common misunderstanding that the regulations do not apply to the handling of SF6 for use in LINACs and other medical equipment.

This is most definitely not the case and in particular we would refer to article 3 (see below) of the F Gas regulations.

“Regardless of the type of equipment that contains F-gas, you should ensure that you adhere to the principal factors of the Regulations, particularly around Article 3 (Containment);

  1. The intentional release of fluorinated greenhouse gases into the atmosphere shall be prohibited where the release is not technically necessary for the intended use.
  2. Operators of equipment that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases shall take precautions to prevent the unintentional release (“leakage”) of those gases. They shall take all measures which are technically and economically feasible to minimise leakage of fluorinated greenhouse gases.
  3. Where a leakage of fluorinated greenhouse gases is detected, the operators shall ensure that the equipment is repaired without undue delay.”

Lack of awareness or failure to comply with the regulations, no matter what your industry, can result in avoidable damage to the environment and potential legal consequences. This can be avoided though by working with SF6 handling experts such as the team here at SF6 Recovery.

To find out more about our SF6 handling, SF6 disposal services and how we can help ensure you meet your legal obligations within the F gas regulations, contact us today.

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