Following thorough examination in line with the EU’s Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012, the ECHA Biocidal Product Committee has resolved that the use of dicopper oxide, copper thiocyanate and coated copper flake is permissible in antifouling substances.
The committee has determined that products, containing the aforementioned copper compounds as their active antifouling ingredient, may be used on yachts. It should be noted that the above compounds are the only compounds to have received approval at this point and they may be used as a sole biocide or in conjunction with a co-biocide.
The updated regulations further require that antifouling manufacturers submit applications, and subsequently receive the necessary approvals, for all their copper-based products in every country in which they hope to market them. This submission and acceptance process must be completed before 1 January 2018.
Over a timetabled period of years, the European authorities will be evaluating all categories of biocides and biocidal products, existing and new. Antifouling products and substances form one such category within holistic evaluation.
The need to efficiently regulate biocidal antifouling products is dire. On the one hand antifouling products are absolutely necessary to ensure efficient fuel consumption and, therefore, decrease C02 emissions, as well as maintaining hull condition and preventing the translocation of invasive species. However, a number of products currently in use are considered damaging to fragile marine environments.