Consumer Products and Retail E-ssentials

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Technical guidance on organotin compounds

December, 2017

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.

Potential hazards:
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):

  • European Union
    • REACH Annex XVII, entry 20
    • REACH Candidate List
  • Japan: Act on Control of Household Products Containing Harmful Substances
  • South Korea: Safety Quality Labelling Act and Self-Regulatory Safety Confirmation Act


Maximum limit (non-exhaustive):

  • European Union
    • REACH Annex XVII, entry 20
      • 0.1% by weight of tin for DBT, DOT, tri-substituted organotin compounds
    • REACH Candidate List
      • 0.1% by weight
  • Japan
    • Textiles products - diapers, diaper covers, bibs, underwear, sanitary bands, sanitary underpants, sleepwear, gloves, socks and stockings:
      • TBT, TPhT - Not used
    • Household adhesive, household paint, household wax
      • TBT, TPhT - Not used
  • South Korea
    • Textiles and leather goods for infants < 36 months
      • DBT – 1.0 mg/kg and TBT – 0.5 mg/kg
    • Textiles and leather goods for children and adult
      • TBT – 1.0 mg/kg


How can TÜV SÜD help?

TÜV SÜD has a dedicated technical solutions team to support you with root cause analysis, problem identification, suggestions for improvement and failure minimisation.

  • Training and seminar on understanding the RSL (Restricted Substance List) and MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substance List)
  • Testing services on raw materials and final products 
  • Being part of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) programme, we review the entire value chain of footwear and textiles








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