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Why Phase-Out Organotin Paint?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a legally binding Convention banning the application of organotin anti-fouling paints on ships' hulls by 2003 and its presence by 2008. This ...


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a legally binding Convention banning the application of organotin anti-fouling paints on ships' hulls by 2003 and its presence by 2008. This requires not less than 25 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 25% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping, it's not likely that the Convention will enter into force by 2002. So WWF is seeking commitments from industry and government to show active support for the IMO Convention. This will be achieved through eliminating the use of organotin paints, with action taken to bring about such elimination of the use organotins before 2003, the date proposed by the IMO.

The main qualification for membership in the 2003 Group (organotin-free group) will be that the industry player concerned is fully organotin-free by January 1st 2003. Membership will not be granted to the shipping companies unless their entire fleet is organotin free by 2003.

Organotin compounds, such as TBT, are considered to be amongst the most toxic chemicals ever released into the marine environment. Even at very low concentrations, they have been shown to produce serious negative impacts upon marine life. These cause the disruption of the hormone systems in marine invertebrates, such as dogwhelks, causing fremales to acquire the sexual characteristics of males. Studies show that organotins are present in marine species at all levels of the ecosystem: fish, birds and mammals. Possible human endocrine disrupting properties of organotins have been seen.

Anti-fouling paints on ships' hulls is a major source of organotins. Organotin paint has been partially banned for use on smaller vessels. This has been shown to reduce levels of organotin, but their continued use on larger ships, and the fact that the compounds can persist in sediments for a lengthy time periodBusiness Management Articles, means that the marine environment is still saturated with these chemicals at unacceptably high levels.

To support conservation of marine biodiversity and reduce destructive human impacts it is imperative that the use of these organotin compounds be phased out. This chemical is considered to be the most toxic chemical ever deliberately released into the marine environment.

Contacts:

Patricia Cameron
Pollution Prevention Officer
WWF Germany - Marine and Coastal Division
Am Güthpol 11
D - 28757 Bremen
Germany
Tel. +49 421 65846 16
Fax +49 421 65846 26
email: _ HYPERLINK mailto:Cameron@wwf.de __Cameron@wwf.de_mailto:svowles@wwf.org.uk __svowles@wwf.org.uk_

Dr Simon Vowles
Marine Policy Officer [Pollution]
WWF
Panda House
Weyside Park
Godalming GU7 1XR
UK
Tel ++44 1483 426 444

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