De past few years many developments have occurred within Europe about regulations regarding foam concentrates containing fluorosurfactants. Even with the prohibition form the European Union to no longer use PFOS containing firefighting foams after 26 June 2011, this is still an issue. More and more environmental organizations ask themselves if the new fluor chemicals are as harmless to humans and animals as said.
Several European governments have already given their recommendations regarding use of firefighting foams. The recommendations are:
Motivation is the observation that fluor chemicals are more and more being found in soil and surface water, with reaching consequences for safe drinking water supply.
When the large fire at ‘Chemie-Pack’ in January 2011 in Moerdijk, Holland was extinguished, 33 million liter firewater mixed with fluor containing foam concentrates was used. Part of this firewater has entered the surface water, water that is also used for drinking water supply. To purify organohalogenes from the water, water treatment companies must invest a lot of money in adequate filtration systems. Both the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and environmental organizations must endorse that fluor chemicals are persistent and bio accumulative and very slowly degrade in the environment, and also are absorbed by humans and animals.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (Rijkswaterstaat, NL) is meanwhile investigating if environmental friendly alternatives are available. Therefore, it is not excluded that for the current fluor-containing foam concentrates (AFFF, AFFF/ARC, FFFP) in the near future restrictions are imposed.
Pressure is increasing on producers of firefighting foams to develop high quality fluor free foams. Solberg Scandinavian, one of the leading producers of firefighting foams in the world, is already producing 100% fluor-free foam concentrates since 2004. These foam concentrates are known as Re-Healing foams. Solberg has managed to offer the fluor free foam concentrates with excellent extinguishing proporties in about 70% of all cases where foam concentrate is used. InnoVfoam BV sells these fluor-free foams in Holland. The foams have UL lising, EN 1568 approval and last fire acceptance.
The Re-Healing foams van be considered 100% replacement for the conventional free containing foam concentrates and thus provide an important perspective.
We would like to refer to the attached test rapport ‘Sweet Smell of Success’. The test has been excecutet in Texax, Beaumont, at the Beaumont TX Training complex. For this test Solberg has set a test case scenario where a vertical storage tank with a diameter of 42 foot (12,8 meter) was used.