Last reviewed 11 January 2022

The Environment Agency has issued compliance advice for businesses regarding perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA related compounds in firefighting foams.

There is currently an exemption in place for the use of PFOA in fire-fighting foam for Class B fires already installed in systems, including both mobile and fixed systems. This exemption is in place until 4 July 2025, subject to certain conditions being met.

Ahead of the exemption deadline, the note from the Agency states that businesses should identify if the foam they hold contains PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds, by checking the safety data sheet for the foam, contacting the supplier or manufacturer of the foam or getting the foam analysed by a suitable lab.

Any business that intends to use or have a stockpile of Class B foam already installed in systems which contains or may contain PFOA, its salts and/or PFOA-related compounds, has a legal obligation to meet the following conditions.

Holders of stockpiles greater than 50kg must notify the Environment Agency by completing a stockpile notification form and sending to chemicalrestrictions@environment-agency.gov.uk.

The Agency must be notified as soon as possible of any POPs stockpile. In addition:

  • the fire-fighting foam may not be used for training

  • the fire-fighting foam may not be used for testing unless all releases are contained

  • from 1 January 2023, the use of the fire-fighting foam is only be allowed in sites where all releases can be contained.