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Biofouling. 2010 Jan;26(1):73-88. doi: 10.1080/08927010903216564.

The environmental fate and effects of antifouling paint biocides.

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  • 1Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo, Norway.


Antifouling (AF) biocides are the active ingredients in AF paints that prevent the settlement, adhesion and growth of organisms to a painted surface. A wide range of chemicals are used as AF biocides, which have very different physico-chemical properties and therefore differing environmental fates, behaviour and effects. Copper has been used as an antifoulant for centuries and extensive research has been performed to understand how copper speciation influences bioavailability and toxicity. For biocides that have been widely used over a number of decades, for example Irgarol 1051 and diuron, there are a large amount of environmental data in the public domain, including for their respective metabolites, that allows their environmental safety and potential risk to the environment to be assessed. For other biocides such as dichlofluanid, DCOIT (SeaNine 211) and zinc/copper pyrithione, there is a good understanding of their fate and effects. However, few monitoring studies have been performed and not so much is known about the fate and effects of their metabolites. There are also new or candidate biocides such as triphenylborane pyridine, Econea, capsaicin and medetomidine for which there is very little information in the public domain. This review provides an overview of the environmental fate and occurrence data that are in the public domain for AF biocides and provides some insight into the effects of these compounds on non-target organisms.

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