Letter to the Editor — Regulators’ Focus on Copper Paint Is Misdirected

Byline: Carl Gregory

I read the Aug. 2-15 issue story, “Boaters Asked to Contact Legislators to Demand New Copper Standards,” with a great deal of interest. I’m glad that Recreational Boaters of California started a campaign to get boaters to demand that the EPA support a more appropriate standard for dissolved copper in harbor water: the Copper Marine Biotic Ligand Model (BLM).

It seems unreal that our government agencies are still using a standard that is based on studies of copper in distilled water instead of saltwater. Once the new BLM is adopted, perhaps we will get a more realistic picture of what effects copper-based antifouling paint on boat hulls is having on Southern California harbors.

I’m betting that using the new standards will prove what most boaters already know: Copper paint use on boats is not harmful to the environment and does not pose a threat to either water quality or marine life — other than the fouling organisms it is designed to discourage from adhering to hulls.

Once on a charter boat trip, I was warned by the skipper that emptying a bottle full of Evian purified drinking water into the ocean is considered to be pollution by government authorities. If that is the case, our official standards could certainly use a “reality check.”

Carl Gregory

Santa Barbara

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