Like it or not, regulations drive change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water Act requires that a lubricant create no sheen in the event of a leak into water. The new 2013 US EPA Vessel General Permit (VGP), which became effective in December of 2013, mandates that vessel owners/operators change from toxic petroleum oil in applications that can potentially pollute sensitive waterways. Ship owners/operators, ship yards, and repair and maintenance facilities worldwide must adapt to regulations that now govern vessels operating in U.S. waters.
Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) – Polyalkylene glycol (PAG) lubricants have been categorized by the EPA in the most favorable environmentally acceptable lubricant (EAL) classification. Under the VGP regulations, EAL’s are mandated for use in oil-to-sea interfaces in vessels over 80’ in length. Neptune® AW lubricants, Neptune® Gear lubricants, and other PAG-based products from ACT for the marine industry are heavier than water and water-soluble, providing a unique advantage over other EAL’s: they will never create a sheen on the surface of water. These products pass the 40 CFR 435 Static Sheen Test, and are classified as a “Readily Biodegradable” according to OECD 301F, and classified as “Relatively Harmless” or “Practically Non-Toxic” to fish and other aquatic life by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Marine applications are prone to water ingress. In blue water (saltwater) applications, salt accelerates wear and corrosion. But competitive EALs are also hydrolytically unstable, reacting with water to form sludge/varnish and acid as decomposition products. In contrast, forgiving PAG formulas from ACT are chemically inert in the presence of water (salt or freshwater), providing superior lubrication and corrosion inhibition while contributing to end-user peace of mind.