There has been significant activity under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SNAP program in recent years that impacts the foam sector by mandating which foam blowing agents are allowed to be used in specific foam applications.
In July 2015, the U.S. EPA released the first SNAP rule (SNAP 1), which listed several HFC foam blowing agents as unacceptable: HFC-134a, HFC-143a, HFC-245fa and HFC-365mfc, among others, as well as any blend containing any of these products. The decision affected many open cell and some closed cell foams. The effective delisting dates depend on the specific type of foam and vary from January 1st, 2017 (many aerosol applications) to January 1st, 2020 or 2021 for foam applications. In many instances, military and aerospace applications are given an extra 3-5 years to comply.
In March 2016, the U.S. EPA released a proposed second SNAP ruling (SNAP 2), which will ban the same blowing agents and their blends from being used in closed cell spray foam applications with effective dates of January 1st, 2020 or January 1st, 2021. SNAP 2 has not been finalized, but is expected to become final in the fall of 2016.
For Chillers, the U.S. EPA has proposed HFC’s to be allowed until January 1st, 2024. Both SNAP rules can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/snap
Download EPA's SNAP fact sheets for more information
Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), such as CFC’s and HCFC’s, which have been phased out and are no longer used in foam blowing applications in developed countries. The mechanism used by the EPA to regulate ODS is called SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Program). While originally designed to regulate the phase-out of ODS products only, SNAP has recently been expanded to regulate HFCs, which are not ODS, but have a high GWP (Global Warming Potential), and are used in the same applications.