Toxic. Used in marine paints.
What is TBT?
Tributyltin (TBT) is a highly toxic pesticide that is added to marine paints to prevent algae, barnacles, and other marine organisms from growing on boat hulls. TBT is also used as a preservative for wood, paper, leather, and glass.
How does TBT enter our environment?
This pollutant can leach into lake and marine waters over time as boat hulls with TBT paint undergo normal wear and tear. Many states regulate products containing TBT and restrict the use of the chemical to the hulls of large vessels. TBT can also enter the environment when paints, stains, and cleaning products containing TBT are improperly disposed of or dumped down the drain.
How are people exposed to TBT?
Humans can be exposed to TBT by eating contaminated fish. Scientists believe that exposure to high enough levels to cause concern is limited to a small segment of the population, such as shipping communities that consume a lot of seafood. Shipyard workers can be exposed to dust and vapors from TBT if proper safety measure are not taken.
Can TBT harm my health?
Contact with products containing TBT can cause severe irritation to the skin and eyes. TBT is known to suppress the human immune system, and long-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage.