Foam Extinguisher Restrictions Briefing


The FIA has published this guidance, which aims to help the reader understand the current restrictions on foam in UK fire extinguishers.

The document addresses the two restrictions that are already in place:

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS): PFOS was listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) in Annex B (restriction) of the UNEP Stockholm Convention on POPs in 2009. Fire-fighting foams that were placed on the market before 27 December 2006 could also be used until 27 June 2011. Any firefighting foams containing PFOS should have been removed from use prior to June 2011 and ethically disposed of. It is noted that a premises shouldn’t have any of these, but the document advises that this should be checked with the extinguisher service provider.

  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in foam; “C8” chemistry: this 2020 legislation relates to any substances that can degrade to produce PFOA which includes ‘long chain’ C8 fluorinated Firefighting foams. In summary, C8 fluorinated foams will no longer be able to be used after 1 January 2023 unless the end-users eg FRS’s can guarantee the containment of the foam and subsequent run off. In addition, the use of PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds shall be allowed in fire-fighting foam for Class B fires already installed, until 4 July 2025, subject to the following conditions:

  • Fire-fighting foam that contains or may contain PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds shall not be used for training.

  • Fire-fighting foam that contains or may contain PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds shall not be used for testing unless all releases are contained.

  • As from 1 January 2023, uses of fire-fighting foam that contains or may contain PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds shall only be allowed in sites where all releases can be contained. Most extinguishers containing PFOA being maintained under service contract will have been replaced or refilled using “C6” foam already – ahead of the deadline. Check with your extinguisher service provider.


  • Fire-fighting foam stockpiles that contain or may contain PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds shall be managed in accordance with Article 5.

The document also raises the topic of possible restriction of:

  • PFHxA (foam with c6 chemistry)

  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl carbon-chain molecules (PFAS)in fire-fighting foam

  • Per- and polyfluoroalkylsubstances (PFAS) carbon-chain molecules in fire-fighting foam.

FIA March 2022


Please click on the url below for the full document:

Foam extinguisher restrictions briefing


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