ZERO Fire Systems - Prevention & Repression
Dutch innovators of sustainable fire systems

Information on banning foam containing PFOS

In case your company is in the possession of  foam concentrates, chances are that you are experiencing or soon will get to the problems concerning the objectionable fluorine (PFOS) in your fighting foams. 

The EEC has adopted legislation to ban  PFOS containing ingredients and materials. The Ministry of VROM have announced that the use of PFOS containing is not allowed anymore per the date of 27th of June 2011. 

The PFOS problem:
This fluorine combination is very toxic and be found in the food chain thru bio accumulation. The substance is persistent  and will not be broken down in the environment. PFOS is that strong polluting, that even  the presence of a small amount PFOS containing foam in a tank, which has to be refilled with PFOS free foam, already caused an exceeding of the conceded concentration.

In practice:
In case a system at your plant is containing for example a 3M foam concentrate, this has to be removed before or/ on June27, 2011. If in between the storage tank has been replenished (e.g. additional mixing tests), we may surely assume  that the content is also polluted and must be removed completely.

In the past some manufacturers of fire fighting foam concentrates have used fluorine based PFOS (besides 3M, other foam concentrates can also contain PFOS!). We therefore strongly recommend the manufacturers submit a statement regarding this subject.

PFOS statement is not usable:
Many manufacturers offer you a written statement that states that the manufacturer has not produced foam with PFOS. This has no practical value. Practice has shown that non-PFOS foams in many tanks become contaminated during production, filling with contaminated equipment or after filling in a contaminated tank. A foam certificate says nothing about the actual PFOS levels in your plants and is not usable. Collecting a sample and determining the presence of PFOS a requirement.

What to do now?
If you have that kind of suspicious foam concentrate in stock  and have considered replacement, you must have noticed the special attention on this subject, required. It is of a great importance to trace what kind of foam concentrate previously was in the system. If this was a 3M foam concentrate, you can be sure that there will be still PFOS present in the storage tank. Replacement and cleaning have to be executed. When there is doubt regarding the presence of PFOS in the storage tank, ZERO Fire Systems BV can take a sample of your actual extinguishing foam concentrate, to determine the presence of PFOS in it. Is that the case, we can assist and guide you on the entire project of replacement. Naturally, we have to determine first and especially what kind of foam concentrate is most suitable for you fire hazards.

But there is more:

  • The PFOS containing storage tank must be emptied;
  • The foam concentrate must transported and destroyed;
  • The storage tank or foam system must be cleaned (No warranty for completely cleaning can be given on every  foam proportioner. Additional actions or replacement of parts  could be needed.)
  • The wash must be destroyed;
  • Eventually renewed technical adjustment of the foam system;
  • Refill of your foam system or storage tank;

Many things you prefer in a minimum time lag to achieve, but with a maximum of expertise and the right advice.

** Not every foamsystems can be fully cleaned. Additional actions or parts replacement may be necessary.

Fluorine Free foam concentrate:
When applying a 100% fluorine free (not to be confused with free fluorine surfactants) foam there are no risks there is another replacement needed in the future as there may be a new requirement coming. And also the 3-year or annual testing much easier because the foam is not to be specially discarded.

ZERO Fire Systems has a fully fluorine Free 3x3 alcohol resistant foam concentrate to 100% with a fluorine-free certification according to NEN EN1568 and Last fire.

ZERO Fire Systems will be happy to give further advice on our various custom solutions. You can contact us by phone: +31 (0) 10 44 22 525

For more information and documents on this subject click here