Over the last 15+ years, the Fire Fighting Foam Industry has been working to understand how environmental pollution arising from the use of non-C6 fluorinated AFFF concentrates can be removed.
As from February 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) have approved fire fighting foams manufactured with fluorosurfactants using a maximum carbon chain of C6:
- In the USA, C6 technology has now been approved by the EPA and the military as the way forward for AFFFs.
- In the EU, the situation is a little more complicated.
- ECHA has now exempted C6 technology and allowed C6 AFFFs to be sold within the EU.
- In return, fluorotelomer manufacturers are being required by 2020 to improve the quality of C6 fluorosurfactants by reducing the amount of impurities to:
- less than 25ppb for PFOA
- less than 1000ppb for a combination of PFOA-related substances
Our range of Aberdeen Foam AFFF-C6 concentrates already meet this regulation - and contain considerably fewer than the maximum quantities allowable - three years before it comes into force!
Component Amount allowable under EU Regulation EC 2017/1000 Amount contained in a typical Aberdeen Foam AFFF-C6 concentrate
- PFOA or its salts
- PFOA-related substances
Further information on this subject can be found in the following two articles - I would highly recommend you read them!
- Fire Fighting Foam Coalition: "Fact Sheet on AFFF Fire Fighting Agents" - download PDF
- Chemical Watch: "PFOA Restriction Gets Green Light from REACH Committee" - read online
The Background to C6 Fire Fighting Foams
Some fifteen years ago, concern was expressed that fire fighting foam using materials manufactured through electrochemical fluorination (ECF) could break down into perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) which, in the environment, is:
PFOS-containing foams have been withdrawn from the market and are no longer used.
Further investigation showed that existing perfluorinated surfactants used in other AFFFS could break down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the environment.
Research showed that the risk of breakdown into PFOA could be eliminated if the perfluorinated surfactant used in AFFFs was restricted from perfluorinated carbon chain lengths of C8 and greater to a C6 chain length.
By restricting the chain length to C6 perfluorinated surfactants:
- the process of producing PFOS is eliminated
- the process of degradation to environmentally harmful PFOA is avoided.
Our range of Aberdeen Foam concentrates:
- use only telomer-manufactured C6 perfluorinated surfactants
- meet EU regulation EC 2017/1000 three years ahead of schedule
- have been tested to meet international standards including
C6 technology is now agreed as the way forward by international bodies
A PDF of all the above information, including the quoted articles, can be downloaded from here.
Other useful links: