The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a direct final rule approving three substances as acceptable alternatives for halons in fire-suppression systems. 77 Fed. Reg. 58,035 (9/19/12). Once used in fire extinguishers, halons were banned from production in the United States in 1994 “because their emissions into the atmosphere are highly destructive to the stratospheric ozone layer.” The three halon substitutes approved under the Significant New Alternatives Policy at 40 C.F.R. pt. 82, subpart G, which requires EPA to identify alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, are: (i) Powdered Aerosol F, which is marketed as KSA®; (ii) Powdered Aerosol G, marketed as Dry Sprinkler Powdered Aerosol Fixed Generators; and, (iii) C7 Fluoroketone.
The direct final rule will take effect December 18, 2012, unless adverse comments or a request for a public hearing is received. EPA will accept comments on the acceptability determinations, which the agency has also issued as a proposed rule, until October 19.