Fomtec talks the transition from PFAS foam systems to Synthetic Fluorine Free Foam

October 10, 2023

Fomtec decided to transition to Synthetic Fluorine Free Foam, commonly referred to as SFFF.

This move comes after the NFPA incorporated the use of SFFF in their 2021 edition of NFPA 11, a guideline also adopted by FM in their most recent edition of FM 5130.

Fomtec’s shift to SFFF: A necessary move?

In the article published on Fomtec’s official website, the company delved into the intricacies of the current PFAS foam systems.

They used the term PFAS containing to denote that, depending on a facility’s location, there might be different regulations pertaining to whether the foam is “C8” or “C6”.

However, the considerations for transitioning to SFFF are consistent regardless of whether the existing foam is C8 or C6.

Deciphering the current foam systems: C8 or C6?

Identifying the type of foam in the system can influence the urgency of transitioning.

In the US, individual states are gradually imposing regulations limiting the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams, irrespective of whether the foam is C6.

Conversely, Europe and the UK have their own set of rules.

Since 2017, with the EU 2017/1000 and subsequent amendments in 2019 and 2020, there are legal restrictions on the use of PFOA, effectively impacting C8 foams.

These regulations prohibit the use of C8 foams except for firefighting purposes, and, as of January 1, 2023, only when the discharge can be contained.

An extended provision exists until July 4th, 2025, where containment is possible.

Moreover, end users who opted for C6 foam post-2015 might soon face new regulations.

These potential laws could limit the production and usage of a chemical known as PFHxA, which is integral to C6 foams.

There’s also speculation about the availability of fluorosurfactants due to proposed regulations which might disrupt their supply to foam manufacturers, especially in Europe.

Key questions when transitioning to SFFF

End users, particularly those in the planning stages or who have already begun their transition, have raised a series of questions and concerns.

These range from understanding their legal obligations, the type of foam concentrate they possess, the implications of PFAS regulations if discharges are captured and processed, and practical aspects like the existing pump’s compatibility, water supply capacity, and cleaning procedures for the system pipework.

For a comprehensive list of concerns and more details on the transition, readers can find the full article here.

FSJA Comment

The decision by Fomtec to transition to SFFF reflects the evolving landscape of firefighting foam regulations and the increasing focus on environmental and health impacts.

It serves as a pertinent reminder for stakeholders in the fire safety industry to stay updated and prepared for regulatory shifts.

Such proactive measures ensure that industry standards are met, whilst also prioritizing the well-being of communities and the environment.

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