FAQs

Q: Who is the PFCMA?

A: The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association (PFCMA) is a nonprofit trade association representing the makers of portable consumer fuel containers and spouts. The PFCMA works with governmental and private entities on matters concerning safety, quality and environmental standards, as well as education about portable fuel containers and safe use of gasoline.

The PFCMA is currently made up of five companies:

Midwest Can Company
No-Spill Inc.
Scepter Canada Inc.
Scepter USA
The Plastics Group, Inc.

Portable consumer fuel containers manufactured by PFCMA members are all made to meet industry guidelines and requirements.


Q: Who monitors the regulations for portable fuel containers?

A: The Industry receives oversight from a variety of sources. Portable consumer fuel containers are expected to meet federal and state statutes, EPA regulations, and ASTM International (ASTM) standards. The products of the portable consumer fuel container industry are overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC works with various industries to develop rules or standards the industry must meet. There is also a subcommittee of ASTM International (ASTM) specifically for portable consumer fuel containers. This subcommittee works to create voluntary product standards for the industry. Additionally, portable consumer fuel containers are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

 

Q: If regulation on cans is constantly changing, can I still find and purchase older versions of cans that don’t meet current requirements?

A: The time periods for compliance with the EPA regulations and the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act have expired long ago. All current portable consumer fuel containers manufactured by PFCMA members are made to meet industry guidelines and requirements. Some online sellers or others may have available older containers or their attachments; the PFCMA recommends against purchase of these older non-compliant products.


Q: Are there any cans that are exempt from the regulations?

A: OSHA approved metal safety containers are mainly used in industrial and construction applications and are not classified as a portable fuel container for residential or consumer use. As such, these cans are not required to meet the same regulations and standards as portable fuel containers intended for consumer use.

 

Q: Are safety cans the same thing as portable consumer fuel containers?

A: No. Industrial safety cans are designed for professional use and are not intended for consumer use. These cans do not meet the regulations required for portable consumer fuel containers and are intended to be used by professionals. These cans adhere to different regulations and require that users follow careful instructions, including grounding the cans using a grounding and bonding wire during filling and dispensing, and have not been certified to meet EPA, child resistance and other regulations for consumer cans.


Q: Do current portable fuel containers have flame arrestors? Are flame arrestors needed?

A: No flame arrestor or flame mitigation device currently exists in the marketplace that is proven to work in a safe and functioning approved portable consumer fuel container. Though some designs have been developed that could in certain, specific situations mitigate a flame, there isn’t a design that has been proven to mitigate a flame and also allow a portable consumer fuel container to safely and effectively function for the user, while also meeting standards required of portable consumer fuel containers. Media reports continually get this wrong.

In fact, research has shown that it is possible that certain flame arrestor designs would have negative consequences which would pose risks to consumers, even if they were properly using the portable consumer fuel containers. Of course it is critical that any flame mitigation device not create other hazards. Yet, in an effort to ensure it is always using safe and appropriate technology, the industry continues to review new designs in conjunction with ASTM International, a recognized leader in the development of product standards.

Industrial safety cans, which are not intended for consumer use, may include flame arrestors, but the flame arrestor design used in industrial safety cans is not safe or appropriate in portable consumer fuel containers. To be clear, these cans do not meet the regulations required for portable consumer fuel containers and are intended to be used by professionals. These cans adhere to different regulations and require that users follow careful instructions, including grounding the cans using a grounding and bonding wire during filling and dispensing, and have not been certified to meet EPA, child resistance and other regulations for consumer cans.

Additional information on the study of flame mitigation devices can be found under the ASTM Flame Mitigation Device Study tab on our website.

 

Q: Why are there media reports that say flame arrestors exist and should be used?

A: Recent media coverage has been confusing, misleading and often simply untrue. No portable consumer fuel container includes a flame arrestor. As portable consumer fuel containers are manufactured today, they are entirely safe when used properly and all portable consumer fuel containers are manufactured to meet all applicable regulations (Congressional statutes, EPA regulations, and ASTM International (ASTM) standards).

Despite these facts, some have suggested flame arrestors be used. There is no flame mitigation device currently being marketed and sold that has been proven to safely allow a portable consumer fuel container to function properly. The industry is actively supporting an independent research study on this issue, which is led by ASTM International, an international standards organization.

Furthermore, flame arrestors available in most industrial safety cans (cans intended for professional use) and aftermarket spouts (spouts sold separately from the containers) have failed the test protocol in the independent research study and were deemed ineffective designs for a portable consumer fuel container.

Additional information on the study of flame mitigation devices can be found under the ASTM Flame Mitigation Device Study tab on our website.


Q: Why did the CPSC put out a statement about flame arrestors?

A: The CPSC has been part of this independent research study on flame mitigation devices (led by ASTM) since it began. Despite this, in December 2013 the CPSC issued a statement often seen in the media – expressing a desire to see flame arrestors incorporated into portable consumer fuel containers. This statement does not reflect the results of the ongoing testing process. Flame mitigation devices have yet to be part of a safety standard or rule (because the independent testing has not yet identified a flame mitigation device that is safe and effective for portable consumer fuel containers).

Should a new safety standard or rule be promulgated, the industry will embrace it, but to do so now, before the independent testing process has found a design that is safe and effective, would be irresponsible and dangerous.

Additional information on the study of flame mitigation devices can be found under the ASTM Flame Mitigation Device Study tab on our website.


Q: Are there portable consumer fuel containers manufactured by companies that are not a part of the PFCMA and/or do not meet current regulations?

A: There are portable fuel containers available to consumers that are manufactured for special applications, such as auto racing, but do not meet the child safety and environmental standards for consumer portable fuel containers.

Additionally, at times other entities that are not members of the PFCMA have made replacement spouts and/or flame arrestors. These products may not meet industry standards and requirements and these products should not be used on portable consumer fuel containers manufactured by members of the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association (PFCMA), all of which are made to meet industry guidelines and requirements.


Q: Are portable consumer fuel containers child-resistant?

A: All portable consumer fuel containers manufactured today are required to have child-resistant closures. This Federal Law can be found here.