WASHINGTON — The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an interim decision for irgarol, which finalizes the cancelation of its use as an active ingredient in antifoulant paint. After completing an ecological risk assessment, EPA determined that irgarol, which is used in antifoulant paint and as a materials preservative in algicidal paints, is toxic to both freshwater and marine plants, including causing the bleaching of coral.

The interim decision also requires irgarol powders — which are used to preserve sealants, vinyl roofing, cements, and other building materials — to be sold in packaging that reduces users' exposure.

EPA reported that its action is in line with the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee session 75 proposal to ban the antifoulant paint use associated with irgarol. EPA stated that it has also worked with manufacturers to identify a number of alternatives to irgarol.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requires EPA to periodically review pesticides to ensure that risk assessments reflect the best available science. The interim decision is part of a multi-step process to identify risks as well as actions that can mitigate risks.

EPA uses interim decisions to finalize enforceable mitigation measures while conducting other longer-term assessments.  EPA will make a final registration review decision after completing an endangered species determination.

Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, the interim decision will be available in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0003 at www.regulations.gov.