• Up in the Air

    Fire Safety, Politics and the Environment


    • ASTM D7673 Standard for Halon 1211 Now Published
    • December 16, 2010

    By Bill Polits


    After nearly a year of work, the ASTM subcommittee for fire extinguishing agents (D 26.09) has published a brand-new standard for Halon 1211 - the streaming fire extinguishing agent used to charge portable fire extinguishers for certain critical-use applications, such as aircraft.


    The need for an updated standard for this agent was made apparent by the issues with contaminated halon in the EU, discovered last year.


    The new standard (ASTM D7673) was developed so that when the testing methods are followed, agent certified under this standard will in all cases be free from harmful impurities. Older standards, such as ISO 7201-1 and MIL-DTL-38741A do not include detailed gas chromotography testing methodology and therefore are at risk of allowing unidentified impurities to go undetected. Industry leaders, therefore, are urging all interested parties to adopt the new ASTM standard.


    The color requirement of the military specification - a hold-over from a long-obsolete manufacturing specification - has been done away with. As the color of the agent is not a reliable indicator of purity and since color has no bearing on the firefighting effectiveness of the agent, retaining a color specification was viewed as an unnecessary impediment to safe distribution of the agent. Additionally, the ASTM standard conforms to the widely accepted ISO 7201-1 standard with regard to color.


    Suppliers, equipment manufacturers and end-users of Halon 1211 should feel an increased sense of comfort with respect to the quality of halon supplies as this new and improved standard gains acceptance in the industry.


    The ASTM D 26.09 subcommittee will meet again in February, 2011 to consider - among other things - updates to the ASTM standard for Halon 1301.