CA Proposes Antifouling Paints Rule


Antifouling coatings are the focus of regulatory actions being considered for addition to data requirements under the California Code of Regulations.

The state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is proposing a rule that requires antifouling paints and coatings manufacturers to share more specific data upon product registration, according to online journal Chemical Watch (subscription).

Focus on Leach Rate Data

The California DPR issued notice Nov. 18 of its proposal to adopt section 6190 (Inert Ingredient Hazard) of California Code of Regulations Title 3 (Food and Agriculture), Division 6 Pesticides and Pest Control Operations with the addition of new text to Chapter 2 Pesticides, Subchapter 1 Pesticide Regulation, Article 3 Supplementary Data Requirements.

Regulation No. 16-005, Copper-Based Antifouling Paint and Coating Products, would compel registrants of all new copper-based antifouling paint and coating (AFP) products to submit estimated daily mean copper release rate (a.k.a. leach rate) data as a requirement for registration.

Effective July 1, 2018, the proposed action establishes a maximum allowable copper leach rate for copper-based AFP products registered in California for use on recreational vessels.

Moreover, currently registered products exceeding the leach rate will be subject to cancellation.

The regulation will not apply to copper-based antifouling paint or coating products labeled for commercial vessel use only, according to the proposed text of the rule. It also defines the difference between recreational and commercial vessels for the purpose of the regulation.

The DPR indicates that it has determined that the proposed regulatory action does affect small businesses.

The agency is inviting comment on the regulation. Written comments about the proposed action may be submitted until 5 p.m. Jan. 4, 2017. Contact information for comments is included in the notice.

Based on 2006 Marina Study

In 2006, the DPR initiated a study to sample water and sediment from 23 marinas in California to assess the geographical scope and severity of pollution stemming from the use of AFP products containing copper, zinc, and Irgarol.

It found that dissolved copper concentrations in saltwater and brackish water marinas often exceeded the U.S. EPA’s California Toxics Rule (CTR) copper water quality standards.

Based on that study, the agency determined that copper-based AFP products applied to recreational vessels were a likely source of dissolved copper in those marinas. It also concluded that the main source of copper contamination there was from passive leaching of copper-painted recreational vessel hulls and in-water hull cleaning of copper-painted recreational vessels.

wire brushing a boat
© / andrej67

A 2006 DPR study found that copper-based AFP products on recreational vessels were a likely source of dissolved copper in the marinas it analyzed, and that the main source of copper contamination there was from passive leaching of copper-painted recreational vessel hulls and in-water hull cleaning of copper-painted recreational vessels, it said.

This prompted to agency to reevaluate copper AFP products to determine the nature or the extent of the potential hazard and identify mitigation measures, as the elevated levels can be harmful to marine life.

Therefore, DPR noted it was proposing to adopt section 6190 to address copper contamination in surface water from copper-based AFPs.

“By requiring copper leach rate data for all new copper-based AFP products submitted for registration and adopting a maximum allowable copper leach rate limit for copper-based AFP products registered for use on recreational vessels, DPR expects nearly all of California’s saltwater marinas to come into compliance with the CTR’s protective chronic copper saltwater standard of 3.1 μg/L,” the agency wrote in a document explaining the reasoning behind its proposal.

Additional Activity

In addition to the regulation, the DPR also said it would be providing assistance to stakeholders by actively promoting and implementing voluntary mitigation recommendations such as:

  • Encouraging boat owners and in-water hull cleaners to make use of best management practices or certification programs to reduce the amount of copper leaching from boat hulls;
  • Urging registrants to develop hull cleaning brochures for distribution to boaters via boatyards, as well as painted-hull maintenance information to be distributed with paint purchases;
  • Increasing boater awareness and acceptance of copper AFP alternatives; and
  • Fostering new and supporting existing incentive programs to convert copper-painted boat hulls to those painted with alternatives.

According to Chemical Watch, these AFPs are also currently the subject of an alternatives assessment project in Washington state, which identified alternatives that include biocidal antifouling and foul release paints, as well as new non-paint non-biocide technologies.

The Washington study was prompted by a 2011 state law requiring copper-based AFPs on recreational vessels smaller than 65 feet in length to be phased out by 2020.


Tagged categories: Antifoulants; Coating Materials; Environmental Protection; Government; Marine; Marine Coatings; North America; Regulations; Ships and vessels; Shipyards

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