by Darrell Nicholson, Practical Sailor
Antifouling paint manufacturers are reporting that Irgarol, a pesticide commonly used as a boosting agent in antifouling paints, is in short supply in the United States. Based on what we have learned, it seems likely that the supply of paints containing this pesticide will be exhausted sometime this year. For some makers, their supply will run out as early as this spring.
Bottom paints containing Irgarol are usually marketed as having a boosting agent that enhances the paint’s protection against algae, soft growth, or “slime,” and are priced around $30 higher than similar formulas without Irgarol. Interlux’s Micron Extra with Biolux, Pettit’s slime-resistant “SR” formulas such as Trinidad SR and Ultima SR-40 (and SR-60), and Blue Water’s Copper Pro “SCX” paints such as Copper Pro SCX67 (hard and ablative) are examples of these paints. In our most recent test involving 55 different paints, nearly one-quarter of them contained Irgarol.
Given the shortage, it is possible that bottom paints formerly touted as having slime-resistant formulas will no longer contain Irgarol. It is still not clear how manufacturers will handle the naming and labeling of these products, but in the past, some manufacturers have significantly changed the formulas of paints without changing the names. – Full report