"TBT" redirects here. For the high school located in Tampa, Florida, see Tampa Bay Technical High School.
Tributyltin (TBT, Bu3SnH) is a trialkyl organotin compound. Tributyltin compounds are a subgroup of the trialkyl organotin family of compounds. They are the main active ingredients in certain biocides used to control a broad spectrum of organisms, and these compounds are being considered for inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention.
Uses include wood preservation
and preservation, antifouling pesticide
in marine paints
action in textiles and industrial water systems, such as cooling tower and refrigeration water systems, wood pulp and paper mill systems, and breweries. Tributyltin oxide
is the widely used compound in TBT–containing commercial products.
Use in organic synthesis
Tributyltin is a useful reagent in organic synthesis
. Combined with azobisisobutylonitrile
, tributyltin generates radicals by removing a hydrogen atom from the molecule of interest.
TBT compounds are considered as toxic chemicals which have negative effects on human and environment. Tributyltin compounds are moderately to highly persistent organic pollutants
that bioconcentrate up the marine predators' food chain. One common example is leaching of TBT from marine paints into the aquatic environment, causing irreversible damage to the aquatic life.
TBT is harmful to some marine organisms, including the dog whelk. TBT causes dog whelks to suffer from imposex: females develop male sexual characteristics such as a penis. This causes them to become infertile or even die. In severe cases males can develop egg sacs.
Tributyltin, dibutyltin and toxicity to marine mammals
Studies have shown that wild, dead sea otters (Enhydra lutra) and stranded bottlenose dolphins can have extremely high levels of tributyltin in their livers. Both tributyltin and dibutyltin, a metabolite byproduct, cause immunosuppresion, leading to secondary infections. This was supported by the finding that otters dying of infectious causes tend to have higher levels of tissue butyltins than those dying of trauma or other causes.
TBT has also been blamed by hearing experts for causing hearing loss in mammalian top predators such as toothed whales.
Tributyltin toxicity to marine invertebrates
TBT is extremely toxic to molluscs. In the case of bivalve larvae, the effective concentration (EC50) of TBT is 1000 times lower than that of any other toxic compound introduced into the marine environment. TBT also causes imposex in marine gastropods and is probably responsible for reductions in their populations in zones with important ship traffic.