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What are they?
Organotin compounds, or stannanes, are chemical compounds based on tin element bonded to carbon. These compounds are classified by the number of organic functional groups bond to tin i.e. tetra-, tri-, di- and mono-organotin compounds. Compounds with one ‘Carbon-tin’ (C-Sn) bond are referred to as mono-substituted organotin compounds; two ‘C-Sn’ bonds are known as di-substituted tin compounds and three ‘C-Sn’ bonds are known as tri-substituted organotin compounds.
Di-substituted organotin compounds e.g. dibutyltin (DBT), dioctyltin (DOT), are used as catalysts in the production of polyurethane foam and as heat stabilisers for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Tri-substituted organotin compounds e.g. tributyltin (TBT), triphenyltin (TPhT) are commonly used as biocides.
Organotin compounds are harmful and toxic to the aquatic organisms at low concentration. Certain tin compounds e.g. DBT, TBT, may cause skin irritation and eye irritation. It is also suspected of disturbing the hormonal system. The toxicity of organotin compounds depends on which organic functional groups are bonded to the tin.
Commonly found in:
Plastics, inks, paints and heat transfer material, silicone may contain organotin compounds because they are used as catalysts during production.
Related legislation (non-exhaustive):
Maximum limit (non-exhaustive):
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