SERDP was funding research aimed at developing fluorine-free surfactant formulations for use in class B fire-suppression operations. In addition, commercially available fluorine-free foams were being tested under ESTCP to determine whether any of those formulations could meet the current Department of Defense (DoD) performance requirements defined in MIL-F-24385F. It was expected that several of the efforts at the time would identify formulations of fluorine-free surfactants that would meet the DoD performance requirements. The objective of this Statement of Need was to determine the relative environmental toxicity of these candidate aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)-alternatives.
Because these foams contain novel chemistries with potentially many complex mixtures of chemicals, experiments were conducted to compare the nominal toxicities of whole-foam formulations relative to the short-chain AFFF formulations currently in use by the DoD. Chronic exposure experiments were required with environmentally-relevant receptors (e.g., fish, mammals, inverts, plants) and endpoints (e.g., reproduction) using bioassays consistent with good laboratory practice. Degradation products and the bioconcentration potential of individual chemicals within the foams should also have been considered as practicable. Results should yield a rank order of the relative toxicity of each foam formulation.
Proposers should have provided the rationale and justification for the species and endpoints selected for study and should have described how the proposed effort built on and complements previous research. SERDP identified the suggested formulations for evaluation, but for costing purposes, proposers should have assumed testing of 3 to 5 new formulations.
Funded projects will appear below as project overviews are posted to the website.
The knowledge of the potential environmental risk of fluorine-free surfactant formulations will assist in the final selection of new formulations and mitigate potential exposures and/or future environmental cleanup.
Since 2006, use of AFFF containing PFOS and PFOA has generally been replaced by foams that have fluorosurfactants of 6 carbons or fewer. These newer foams are thought to be less toxic and bioaccumulative; however, there are data gaps regarding environmental toxicity, particularly with regard to chronic toxicity.
A number of alternative fluorine-free surfactant formulations are currently under development by SERDP, and commercially-available fluorine-free foams are being tested under ESTCP to evaluate their ability to meet current DoD performance requirements. Additional information from these studies can be found at the web sites listed below.
The cost and time to meet the requirements of this SON are at the discretion of the proposer. Two options are available:
Standard Proposals: These proposals describe a complete research effort. The proposer should incorporate the appropriate time, schedule, and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed. SERDP projects normally run from two to four years in length and vary considerably in cost consistent with the scope of the effort.
Limited Scope Proposals: Proposers with innovative approaches to the SON that entail high technical risk or have minimal supporting data may submit a Limited Scope Proposal for funding up to $200,000 and approximately one year in duration. Such proposals may be eligible for followon funding if they result in a successful initial project. The objective of these proposals should be to acquire the data necessary to demonstrate proof-of-concept or reduction of risk that will lead to development of a future Standard Proposal. Proposers should submit Limited Scope Proposals in accordance with this SERDP Supplemental Solicitation instructions and deadlines.