• Capabilities: Environmental Solutions, Site Evaluation and Restoration

How safe is my extinguisher foam?

Airport - Fluoridated fire fighting foam has a negative effect on water and soil quality. Greater insight into the characteristics of extinguisher foam resulted in fire-fighting organizations from various airports and the petrochemical industry switching to fluorine-free extinguisher foam. This prevents environmental pollution with PFAS.

Analysis into PFAS in extinguisher foam

The companies did not know whether or not their existing fire fighting foam was fluoridated (AFFF, FFFP, FP). Or they had doubts about the composition of a new extinguisher foam despite the producers’ supplying certificates. To be sure that the foam does not damage the environment, they wanted to establish its composition. Using a method of analysis developed by Arcadis, they gained greater insight into not only the PFAS in the fire fighting foam but also into the precursors that are broken down into PFAS in the environment.

Switching to F3 foams

The insight into the composition of the extinguisher foam and how it decomposes in the environment, enabled the airport or company fire-fighting organization to make a more considered decision about the use of extinguisher foam or switching to extinguisher foam without fluoropolymers, so-called F3 foams.

Study of PFAS in extinguisher foam and sprinkler systems

Samples of both fluorinated and fluorine-free fire fighting foam were analyzed using a specially developed TOP Analysis. This provided insight into the PFAS present in the extinguisher foam as well as the substances converted into PFAS in the environment. This gave us a complete picture of the composition of the extinguisher foam. In addition, we carried out supplementary analyses on samples of concentrated fire fighting foam (foam concentrate) and tested whether sprinkler systems were adequately cleaned when fluorinated foam systems were deployed.

Also view our global perspective: The emerging issue: PFAS.

Questions about this project

Wim Plaisier

Manager PFAS Solutions Europe +31 (0)6 4664 7255 Ask me a question
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