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Mar Pollut Bull. 2007 Aug;54(8):1190-6. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Hazard assessment of silicone oils (polydimethylsiloxanes, PDMS) used in antifouling-/foul-release-products in the marine environment.

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Analytisches Laboratorium, Bahnhofstrasse 1, 24816 Luhnstedt, Germany.


Non-eroding silicone-based coatings can effectively reduce fouling of ship hulls and are an alternative to biocidal and heavy metal-based antifoulings. The products, whose formulations and make up are closely guarded proprietary knowledge, consist of a silicone resin matrix and may contain unbound silicone oils (1-10%). If these oils leach out, they can have impacts on marine environments: PDMS are persistent, adsorb to suspended particulate matter and may settle into sediment. If oil films build up on sediments, infiltration may inhibit pore water exchange. PDMS do not bioaccumulate in marine organisms and soluble fractions have low toxicity to aquatic and benthic organisms. At higher exposures, undissolved silicone oil films or droplets can cause physical-mechanic effects with trapping and suffocation of organisms. These 'new' effects are not covered by current assessment schemes. PDMS make the case that very low water solubility and bioavailability do not necessarily preclude damage to marine environments.

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