Sacrificial anodes are attached to the hulls of boats and marine structures to prevent corrosion. Their use inevitably leads to release of zinc as well as impurities in the zinc alloy such as cadmium to the saline environment. Risk assessments and source apportionment exercises require accurate assessments of the potential loads of chemicals into the environment. This research has surveyed a wide variety of zinc anodes for their composition to compare against a reported industry standard as well as using differing methodologies to determine the dissolution rate of zinc and cadmium from anodes. A zinc dissolution rate of 477 g/yr/kg of anode is proposed. Although most anodes tested had concentrations of cadmium within the prescribed limits set by the reported standard, calculated leaching rates from laboratory dissolution experiments suggested as much as 400 g per year of cadmium could leach from zinc anodes used on leisure vessels within UK waters.
Rees, A., Gallagher, A., Wright, L., Wood, J., Cathery, T., Harrison, B., Down, C., & Comber, S. (2020). Leisure craft sacrificial anodes as a source of zinc and cadmium to saline waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 158, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111433