"As Coolant Is Phased Out, Smugglers Reap Large Profits"

"MIAMI -- The chief executive of the century-old company from America's heartland shifted nervously on the witness stand here as he tried to explain how a trusted senior vice president had been caught on a wiretap buying half a million dollars in smuggled merchandise, much of it from China."

"Under an international treaty, the gas, HCFC-22, has been phased out of new equipment in the industrialized world because it damages the earth's ozone layer and contributes to global warming. There are strict limits on how much can be imported or sold in the United States by American manufacturers.

But the gas is still produced in enormous volumes and sold cheaply in China, India and Mexico, among other places in the developing world, making it a profitable if unlikely commodity for international smugglers."

Elisabeth Rosenthal and Andrew W. Lehren report for the New York Times September 7, 2012.

Source: NY Times, 09/10/2012