EPA Releases Non-Copper Boat Paint Study Results

Byline: The Log Staff

EPA Releases Non-Copper Boat Paint Study Results

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the California Department of Toxic Substances Control a $96,000 grant to test a wide variety of safer non-biocide alternatives to copper-based antifouling boat paint. Tests took place in San Diego, Newport Beach and San Francisco from November 2009 to December 2012 — and now, the results are in.

The study initially looked at the effectiveness of 19 non-biocide coatings, and later performed more intensive testing on the seven top performing paints — as well as examining alternative painting and stripping methods. According to the EPA, the results of these findings are transferrable nationwide to both warm-water and cold-water boating regions.

According to the EPA, “All said, non-biocide coatings show particular promise due to their ability to provide cost-effective, high-performing antifouling protection while ensuring the well-being of aquatic life and human health.”

The non-biocide paints performed well in all water temperatures, but the study found that they did especially well and performed more cost-effectively in the colder waters of Northern California. The study also found that although copper-based paints last an average of two years, non-biocide coatings can last as long as 10 years.

The study concluded that boat paint application costs could be lowered by applying non-biocide paint over existing copper-based paint, instead of stripping the boat’s hull first. Applying the paint with a roller instead of a sprayer was also recommended, to lower costs.

See a preliminary summary of the study results at epa.gov/region9/waste/features/safe-paint/index.html.

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