Tin in the form of organotins are used as stabilizers in PVC (vinyl) products, particularly in rigid PVC products (Modern Plastics Handbook 2000). They are also used as catalysts in silicone production.

Organic tin compounds often consist of one, two, or three organic molecules attached to an atom of tin. Those with one or two organic molecules are often used to stabilize PVC plastic and are more likely to be present in children's toys, whereas those with three organic molecules are primarily used as pesticides. (Modern Plastics Handbook 2000). For more information, visit ASTDR - ToxFAQs™. Para obtener más información en español Estaño (Sn) | ATSDR - ToxFAQs™. tested products for tin, which may be in an organic or inorganic form.

Health Effects

Depending on the form and level of exposure:

  • Exposure to high levels of inorganic tin may cause symptoms including stomach aches, liver and kidney problems, and anemia (ATSDR 2005).
  • Organic forms, known as organotins, are believed to be toxic at lower levels of exposure.
  • Several tin compounds cause nervous system harm, including tributyl tin, dibutyl tin, trimethyl tin, and dimethyl tin (Cooke 2004, Jenkins 2004, ATSDR 2005). The developing brain is particularly vulnerable. Dibutyl tin is toxic to nervous system cells at concentrations similar to those found in people today (Jenkins 2004).
  • Some forms of organotin, like tributyl tin and dibutyl tin, are also toxic to the immune system (Cooke 2004)

Current Regulations for Products

  • The toy industry has not established a voluntary migration standard for the amount of tin that can migrate from toys.
  • Two voluntary, third-party product standards specify limits for extractable tin in various materials. OKOE-TEX 100 standard for textiles and leather and the TUV Rheinland Group TOXPROOF & SG standards for textiles, leather and plastics restrict extractable tin to 1 ppm and non-detect respectively.

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