As fire protection specialists, we have noticed that the ban has raised a lot of questions. We have collected the most frequently asked questions and would now like to show what our customers are concerned about. With this FAQ we would like to provide more security and transparency around the ban of PFOA in firefighting foams.
What does the ban mean?
The ban on PFOA is primarily aimed at extinguishing agent manufacturers and sets a limit value accordingly. This max. limit value to be complied with is 25ppb PFOA (0.025mg/kg). With regard to the communicated deadlines and the limits published in the Official Journal of the European Union, REGULATION (EU) 2019/1021, we would like to specify the date from which the regulation takes effect in practice:
In the event that the release of substances containing PFOA can be collected in portable and mobile fire extinguishers (thus neither seeping into the ground nor running into a sewerage system), the fire extinguisher can also continue to be operated for all extinguishing agents placed on the market before 04.07.2020. If this is not guaranteed, they are not permitted from 01.01.2023.
We refer to proper disposal, exclusively via appropriate disposal specialist companies.
What are PFOA?
Per-fluoro-octanoic acid is a substance that belongs to the PFAS family and is found in so-called C8 chemistry and thus also in extinguishing foams. These foams were replaced without exception by so-called "high-purity" C6 foams by renowned German fire extinguisher manufacturers between 2009/2011.
What are PFAS?
Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances form the family of halogenated fluorosurfactants used in various industries, such as functional clothing, surface coatings, paint and varnish, and in foam extinguishing agents. Many substances from the family, such as PFOS and PFOA, are now banned. Many other substances in the PFAS family are considered to be of concern and are likely to be further regulated.
Are the fluorine-free extinguishers dangerous to use?
Jockel fluorine- and solvent-free fire extinguishers can be handled and used in the same way as other conventional foam extinguishers. The fluorine-free Jockel "GREEN" foam extinguishers are easy and intuitive to use, so that even a (any) layman can use these extinguishers without further ado. Furthermore, the fluorine-free Jockel foam extinguishers are designed to have a comparably high extinguishing performance compared to other ordinary extinguishers. For the user, this means a consistent extinguishing efficiency for successfully extinguishing incipient fires. Existing fire extinguishers can therefore be easily replaced with fluorine-free extinguishers without any loss of extinguishing performance. In this context, we always recommend adapting or creating a corresponding risk assessment.
There is currently a great deal of uncertainty and unfortunately also often half-knowledge on the market. If you need clarification or have general questions, please contact renowned manufacturers of fire extinguishers or extinguishing agents and the fire extinguishers or extinguishing agents and the bvbf association.
What is C6 Chemistry?
C6 chemistry is the current state of the art to efficiently extinguish fires and quickly contain the environmental impact associated with the fire. These fire extinguishers are legitimised and may be used without restriction. These can be found in Jockel foam fire extinguishers with the BIO label. However, the entire PFAS family is classified as a concern, so further regulation is very likely in the long term. Among other things, this is also provided for in the legal basis of the European Green Deal, which will in particular regulate the placing on the market of persistent substances (PFAS in general are persistent).
What are the sustainable options?
When choosing the right foam extinguishing agent, a long-term view is definitely sensible and economical. We recommend considering alternative, sustainable foams in the decision-making process. For this purpose, JOCKEL suggests the GREEN GENERATION concept, which recommends a holistic consideration via a risk assessment of extinguishing agents when using B-fire risk potentials. Accordingly, the following are also recommended: high-performance water extinguishers, water mist extinguishers and fluorine-free foam extinguishers, to avoid the discharge of harmful or at least worrying substances.
Where is the development going?
A clear trend can be seen in the area of sustainability, as regulation is emerging through constantly evolving analytical methods. In the spirit of promoting this sustainability, Jockel has set standards with the fluorine-free alternatives.
Are foam agents in fire extinguishers prohibited?
The current state of the art provides for C6 foam extinguishing agents. Since March 2016, Jockel has been offering sustainable fluorine-free alternatives.
What is the "Green Deal" ?
Are there any older Jockel foam fire extinguishers that may no longer be used or may only be used under certain conditions due to the PFOA concentration > 0.025 mg/kg in the extinguishing agent? If so, which devices are involved?
The fire extinguisher is a system requiring maintenance, which is subject to recurring maintenance. With this maintenance, on the one hand the functionality and safety of the extinguisher is to be ensured, but also the state of the art in the case through the extinguishing agent exchange to the state of a C6 chemistry. Means that, under the premise that JOCKEL
portable and mobile fire extinguishers have been properly maintained every 2 years in accordance with the applicable regulations, it can be assumed that there are no longer any devices in circulation that do not comply with the applicable regulations.
Since 2010 at the latest, we have only been using foam extinguishing agents that are below the limit value and can therefore be used without restriction for fire fighting. Since the maximum service life of foam extinguishing agents is 6 or 8 years, the extinguishing agent had to be replaced long ago even in older units where an extinguishing agent with too high a PFOA content was still being used. When the extinguishing agent is replaced, the unit is automatically changed over to a foam extinguishing agent that meets the current requirements. This must also be recognisable by the change in the extinguishing agent information (name or approval/recognition or conformity confirmation number) in the labelling image (extinguishing agent sticker). Therefore, we must assume that the Jockel devices on the market all comply with the currently applicable regulations and laws and may be used for fire fighting without restrictions.
* These regulations refer to the laws applicable in Germany, deviations to other EU member states are possible.
Reference to further links:
Supplementary FAQ ́s