California Senate Bill SB 1013 prohibits Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) 134a and other HFCs used as the foam expansion agent in new marine flotation (buoyancy) foam beginning January 1, 2020. The prohibition applies to foam that enters into commerce in California, which includes foam manufactured out of state and brought into California.
Marine floatation foam is a closed cell foam. Based on a 2011 research study conducted by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), seven percent of marine buoyancy foam expansion agent is emitted at the time of manufacture, less than two percent is emitted during the use phase, and the remaining approximately 90 percent foam expansion agent (HFC 134a) is emitted at the end of the boat’s life. Canada will be following California with a similar rule in 2021. Fortunately, suitable U.S. Coast Guard-approved alternatives exist.