What are organotins?
Organotin compounds are chemical compounds based on tin with hydrocarbon substituent’s. Over the years, a variety of uses has been found for organic and inorganic tin compounds, as fungicides, as stabilisers in plastics, moluscicides, and miticides; they have also been suggested as insect chemosterilants and for other industrial uses. Some of these compounds, which have biocidal properties, can be used in anti-fouling and paints or in a broad range of consumer goods (e.g. as a constituent of PVC).
Some organotin compounds can have adverse health effects and are known to be be toxic to both human health and the environment and as a result the EU has adopted restrictions to protect consumers from exposure to three sorts of organotin compounds in certain consumer articles.
Why you need to test for organotins…
The prohibition on the use of organotin compounds is laid down in Annex XVII to the EU Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH), which is directly applicable in all EU Member States. Organotin compounds may not be used as biocides in paint. Furthermore they are not allowed to be placed on the market or used as substances in anti-fouling of:
a) All craft intended for use in marine, coastal, estuarine and inland waterways and lakes;
b) Cages, floats, nets and any other appliances or equipment used for fish or shellfish farming;
c) Any totally or partly submerged appliance or equipment.
In May 2009, the EU adopted Commission Decision 2009/425/EC on the use of certain organotin compounds in consumer products. The EU commission subsequently incorporated this decision into Annex XVII of Reach Regulations. The requirements and the date of entry into force differ per substance and article. Typically, the limit of content for all these compounds in products is 0.1% per weight.
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