Netherlands. New research findings to support copper in antifouling revealed at METS Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Environmental news:


The Copper Antifouling Environmental Programme (CAEP) hosts presentation at METS 2006, outlining recent independent research findings that support the use of copper in antifouling.

The presentation, made by Mike Waldock, Science Director at CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and Duncan Norman, Chairman of the CAEP, will highlight the key reasons why copper is a safe and important part of the protection of a boat's hull in seawater.

The EU based CAEP is sponsored by five companies that represent the leading copper suppliers and representatives from paint suppliers; American Chemet, Bardyke, Nordox, Spiess Urania and Wolstenholme International. CAEP funds independent research and disseminates scientific data relating to the use of copper in antifouling paint and its impact on the wider environment.

Duncan Norman, Chairman of the CAEP commented; "For hundreds of years copper has been the mariner's protection against unwanted passengers and our research findings show that copper is an effective component in antifouling without being harmful to the environment. Without copper the coatings industry will not be able to supply the marine and pleasure boat industry with the products necessary to keep hulls maintained, which would impact on performance, pollution and safety."

Antifouling paints are formulated to release copper at a controlled rate, which ensures that organisms are inhibited from attaching to the protected surface and that the copper will be deactivated as it moves away from the surface, ensuring no environmental toxicity.

Laboratory studies indicate that high levels of copper are toxic to many marine organisms, as would be expected from an antifouling product. However, no negative environmental impact on the marine environment has ever been conclusively attributed to copper. In fact, field research observes the same marine organisms studied in the laboratory living happily in areas of shipping and boating activity.

"We have developed techniques that identify the toxic portions of copper in seawater," says Dr Mike Waldock from CEFAS. "We have established measurement procedures and our laboratory studies with marine organisms have verified and validated the new analysis methods." Using these techniques CEFAS has conducted monitoring studies of copper in its varying forms in areas of high boating activity in Finland and the UK. Little toxicity of concern was found.

No replacement active biocide has been identified that is effective without health or environmental risk. The CAEP's research findings indicate that antifouling is essential for marine activity and that without antifouling, all immersed surfaces will rapidly grow both hard fouling (barnacles) and soft fouling (weed and slime), which in turn will transfer invasive species from their habitats.

The regulatory cycle in both Europe and the US has meant that in both regions the routine reviews of the registrations of copper as an active ingredient are under way now. The work described here forms the basis of the very strong dossiers submitted by CAEP members earlier this year to the EU for the BPD (Biocidal Products Directive). The same data is about to be passed to the US EPA for consideration within the FIFRA re-registration process. These dossiers should provide for continued registration of copper and secure its use for yachtsman, boaters and all other mariners for the foreseeable future.

The latest research findings were presented at METS 2006 on Wednesday 15th November at 11am in Room T.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2006 )
< Prev   Next >