Guidance on the assessment and authorisation of antifouling products (type 21) has been underway throughout this year. In March 2017 the European Commisssion and Competent Authorities (CA) for biocides agreed that more guidance was needed.
Earlier this year the UK and Dutch authorities, and ECHA's environment working group, jointly developed an antifouling product authorisation manual focusing on environmental risk assessment. The aim was to resolve technical issues that remain at the end of the substance approval process. ECHA says the project has successfully resolved many issues, however, it misses some scenarios which companies applying for product authorisation might need. Apparently the UK authority was put in charge of this work during 2017. A number of UK Antifouling Manufacturers have reported finding the approval process somewhat unclear.
Now time has nearly run out, with product authorisation submission deadlines for antifouling products coming closer. January 2018 marks the date of substance approval for copper, dicopper oxide and copper thiocyanate. Most existing products (type 21) contain mixtures of substances, including one of the copper variants. This means companies must apply for product authorisation by this date in order to keep existing biocidal products on the market. There are a number of existing UK antifouling products that will not be suitable for continued use because the composition would be considered unacceptable under the new regulations.
We have been informed that any antifouling products that are already in the market place, but not covered under a January 2018 approval submission, must be sold through or withdrawn from sale no later than June 2018. Stockists need to be very careful about winter deals that could result in them having 'unapproved' stock in the future.
Please be assured that FLAG Performance Extra and Cruising products will be submitted for approval before the January 2018 deadline. Our current HSE approvals, along with the specific composition of our products, will ensure that these products are not subjected to any 'sell by' deadlines.