Contamination by Organotin Compounds in Asia

  • Takaomi Arai
  • Hiroya Harino

Tributyltin (TBT) compounds have been used extensively as a biocide in marine anti-fouling paints. These compounds are persistent in the marine environment, especially in sediments, due to slow degradation rates and consistent flux (Stewart and de Mora 1990; Michel and Averty 1999). Further, they can accumulate in a variety of marine organisms, from plankton and fish, to various marine mammals (Harino et al. 1999, 2003, 2007a, b, c). Numerous deleterious biological effects of TBT on non-target organisms have been observed (Fent 1996). The most obvious manifestations of TBT contamination have been shell deformation in Pacific oysters (Alzieu 1996) and the development of imposex/intersex in gastropods (Gibbs and Bryan 1996). BT compounds may potentially affect human health through consumption of contaminated seafood.

Owing to the widespread deleterious effects on non-target organisms, the use of TBT as an antifouling agent has been regulated in developed countries for over 20 years (Bosselmann 1996). France was the first country to implement a ban on the use of TBT antifouling paints on ships of less than 25 m at the beginning of 1982. Most European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand implemented similar limited legislation. However, only a few countries or regions in Asia have such regulations, although Japan banned the use of TBT on all vessels in 1991. Considering these facts, it is necessary to understand the present status of BT contamination in Asian coastal waters before implementation of the global ban to evaluate the effectiveness in the future.


Organotin Compound Antifouling Paint Green Mussel Antifouling Agent Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takaomi Arai
    • 1
  • Hiroya Harino
    • 2
  1. 1.International Coastal Research Center, Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoOtsuchiJapan
  2. 2.Osaka City Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sciences,TennojiJapan

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