ECHA have now published the SEAC committee decision on the proposed Fire Fighting foam REACH restriction for Europe
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23 March 2023
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There have been changes from the version FIA commented on in 2022.
The limit is now expressed as concentration of total PFAS as 1mg/L (=1000ppb)
The restriction now states:
1. Where the concentration of total PFAS is greater than 1 mg/L1, shall not, as a constituent of a firefighting foam, be
a. placed on the market or
Paragraph 1.(a) shall apply 6 months after entry into force of the restriction for a constituent of a firefighting foam in portable fire extinguishers (defined by EN3-7, EN-1866 and EN-16856) and 10 years after entry into force of the restriction otherwise.
Paragraph 1.(b) shall apply 10 years after entry into force of the restriction.
2. Shall not be used2 as a constituent of a firefighting foam, including in portable fire extinguishers (defined by EN3-7, EN-1866 and EN-16856), where the concentration of total PFAS is greater than 1 mg/L.
(2 Under REACH, “use” means any processing, formulation, consumption, storage, keeping, treatment, filling into containers, transfer from one container to another, mixing, production of an article or any other utilisation. Please note that, in this opinion, formulation is addressed separately from the use. )
Derogations: Extinguishers are still 5 years from entry into force see 3 below:
3. Paragraph 2 shall apply from:
a. 18 months after entry into force for training and testing (except testing of the firefighting systems for their function);
b. 18 months after entry into force for municipal fire services (except if also in charge of industrial fires for establishments covered by paragraph 3.(e) and for use in these establishments only);
c. three years after entry into force for civilian ships including tankers, ferries, tugboats and other commercial vessels;
d. five years after entry into force for civilian aviation (including in civilian airports) and defence;
e. 10 years after entry into force for establishments covered by the Directive 2012/18/EU (Seveso III)3 (upper and lower tiers) if they are not already covered by paragraph 3.(d);
f. five years after entry into force for all other uses not covered by paragraphs 3(a), 3(b) 3(c), 3(d) and 3(e).
g. five years after entry into force for portable fire extinguishers as defined by EN3-7, EN-1866 and EN-16856 placed on the market before 6 months after entry into force;
In the explanation document they state they are specifically looking for information on certain areas (see below) one of which is offshore where we expressed concerns in our 2022 response, FIA’s WG Foam and waterbased media will look to add to that in the response to this consultation:
Specific information requests
In addition to the general comments, outlined above, the consultation includes several specific questions to gather information that is considered to be particularly relevant to the evaluation of the proposal, as follows:
1. SEAC would welcome further information on the availability, technical feasibility and implementability of alternative PFAS-free firefighting foams in the following sectors/activities:
a. offshore exploration and exploitation,
b. transport of flammable liquids in pipelines,
c. (bulk) transport of flammable liquids on rail and road,
d. Temporary storage directly related to transportation of dangerous substances,
e. “Neighbouring establishments” as defined by Seveso Directive (an establishment that is located in such proximity to another establishment so as to increase the risk or consequences of a major accident)
FIA will co-ordinate its response with our European Partners
Note when this comes into force it will apply to the EU only and not the UK, However a UK restriction is being considered and is unlikely to differ greatly from the EU REACH restriction.
The deadline for responses is 15 May 2023FIA Members can comment directly to ECHA via this link
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