Environmentalists can breath a little easier after the Food and Drug Administration announced that it's banning over-the-counter asthma inhalers, citing hazardous chemicals the spray emits.
The epinephrine inhalers violate an international ban on chlorofluorocarbons, an ingredient formerly found in many aerosol products that has been shown to be harmful to the ozone layer.
Armstrong Pharmaceutical's Primatene Mist is the final inhaler to use chlorofluorocarbons, and other inhalers that have substituted the more environmentally friendly hydrofluoroalkane are prescription only.
That could pose logistical and financial problems for asthma sufferers who rely on inhalers to stave off attacks. The alternatives to the soon to be banned epinephrine inhalers are more expensive and require a prescription to obtain.
If you rely on an over-the-counter inhaler to relieve your asthma symptoms, it is important that you contact a health care professional to talk about switching to a different medicine to treat your asthma, Badrul Chowdhury, FDA's director of pulmonary drug division, said in a statement.
The ban derives from the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement in which the U.S. and 195 other countries agreed to take off the market all products releasing chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere. The FDA finalized plans to phase out the dangerous inhalers in 2008. The ban officially goes into effect on Dec. 31.