EPA reminds boaties of antifouling ban

Boaties need to be aware of new rules banning the use of some antifoul substances.

The Environmental Protection Authority is reminding the boating community of the ban now in force on antifoulings containing diuron, octhilinone and ziram.

The restrictions on manufacturing and importing products containing the chemicals came into force in June last year, but the EPA is keen to remind boaties any affected antifouling paints they may have, can still be used.

“Retailers can continue to sell and use remaining stock, and the public can continue to use the last of their products if they wish,” says Dr Stephen Cobb of the agency’s Hazardous Substances Group.

The EPA decided in 2013 the chemicals were too toxic to marine life, and gave manufacturers and importers a four year window to find substitutes.

“These paints are slow-release toxic coatings,” says Stephen, “and when numbers of boats are moored together in marinas and harbours, the substances build up to concentrations that can affect people and the environment”.

“There are now alternatives which are less toxic to marine life in high concentrations.

“An EPA decision-making committee decided in a reassessment that the risks from some antifouling paints outweigh the benefits under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

”EPA senior communications Aadvisor Mark Wardle says they believe the boating community is playing ball.

“We are not aware of any retailers, importers or manufacturers breaking the new rules around antifouling paint,” says Mark.

A fourth chemical, thiram, is also in the EPA’s sights, but as it is more widely used in antifouling products and is considered less toxic than the initial three manufacturers have a longer window to eliminate it.

It will be banned from June 2023.


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