With the 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards (PGCCA) ceremony drawing near, the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group's (BRAG®) Biobased News and Policy Report decided to go back and revisit some early winners to see what has become of the award-winning product or technology. We will be running a new story each week as we approach this year's awards ceremony, occurring July 13, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. (EDT), at the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention sponsors the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and other members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, academic institutions, and other government agencies.
The very first Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Designing Greener Chemicals category was awarded in 1996 to Sea-Nine™ marine antifoulant, developed by Rohm and Haas, now a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. Sea-Nine™ was created as a novel antifoulant coating to replace tin-based antifoulants that are environmentally persistent and toxic. After the Organotin Antifoulant Paint Control Act of 1988 was enacted, restricting the use of tin in the United States, Rohm and Haas began to research environmentally safe alternatives to organotin. This search lead to the discovery of the active ingredient in Sea-Nine™: 4,5-dichloro-2-n-octyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one (DCOIT). DCOIT was tested against the then-standard tin-based antifoulant tributyl tin oxide (TBTO), and was found to have the same effectiveness of TBTO when protecting ships' hulls in addition to being significantly less persistent than TBTO once it was in seawater.
Sea-Nine™ received the first new EPA registration for antifoulant use in over a decade, and has continued to be widely recognized in the industry for its effectiveness and environmental benefits when compared to tin-based antifoulants. In August 2014, the European Commission approved DCOIT for use in antifouling products that fall under Biocidal Product Regulation (BPR), the European Union's legislation that approves active substances and biocidal products while ensuring the safety of humans and the environment. Marine Antifoulant coatings are a very difficult category to make environmentally friendly due to the need for high toxicity on ships, combined with the requirement for low toxicity when the product is dispersed in seawater. Even now, nearly 20 years later, Sea-Nine™ is the only marine antifoulant that The Dow Company currently produces due to its high effectiveness and low human and marine health risk.