A trace element that is required in bone formation. It has the atomic symbol Sn, atomic number 50, and atomic weight 118.71.
Tin is a trace element that is required in bone formation. It has the atomic symbol Sn, atomic number 50, and atomic weight 118.71. (PubChem). Experimental studies over the last decade have suggested an association between thymus immune and homeostatic function and exogenous tin. It has been hypothesized that the thymus gland synthesizes and secretes one or more tin bearing factors that enhance immune defenses against malignancy and retard the gradual loss of immune capacity with senescence. (A7774). Physiologically, it exists as an ion in the body. Inorganic tin salts are poorly absorbed and rapidly excreted in the faeces; as a result they have a low toxicity. Only about 5 per cent is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, widely distributed in the body, then excreted by the kidney. Some tin is deposited in lung and bone. Some tin salts can cause renal necrosis after parenteral doses. Mutagenic studies on metallic tin and its compounds have been negative. Long-term animal carcinogenic studies have shown fewer malignant tumors in animals exposed to tin than in controls. Human volunteers developed mild signs of toxicity with tin, given in fruit juices, at a concentration of 1400 mg per litre. The WHO 1973 permissible limit for tin in tinned food is 250 micrograms per kg. The adult daily intake of tin was about 17 mg per day in 1940, but it has now decreased to about 3.5 mg, due to improvements in technique of tinning with enamel overcoat and crimped lids to minimize exposure to tin and lead solder. (A7775).
- Metabolism: Though tin metal is very poorly absorbed, tin compounds may be absorbed via oral, inhalation, or dermal routes, with organotin compounds being much more readily absorbed than inorganic tin compounds. Tin may enter the bloodstream and bind to hemoglobin, where it is distributed and accumulates mainly in the kidney, liver, lung, and bone. Organotin compounds may undergo dealkylation, hydroxylation, dearylation, and oxidation catalyzed by cytochrome P-450 enzymes in the liver. The alkyl products of dealkylation are conjugated with glutathione and further metabolized to mercapturic acid derivatives. Tin and its metabolites are excreted mainly in the urine and feces. (L308)
- Uses/Sources: Tin is found in many alloys, such as brass, bronze, and pewter, as well as soldering materials. Tin metal is also used to line cans for food, beverages, and aerosols. Inorganic tin compounds are used in toothpaste, perfumes, soaps, food additives and dyes. Organotin compounds are used to make plastics, food packages, plastic pipes, pesticides, paints, and pest repellents. (L307, L309)
- Health Effects: Metallic tin is not very toxic due to its poor gastrointestinal absorption. However, ingestion of large amounts of inorganic tin compounds can cause stomachache, anemia, and liver and kidney problems. Breathing or swallowing, or skin contact with organotins, can interfere with the way the brain and nervous system work, causing death in severe cases. Organic tin compounds may also damage the immune and reproductive system. (L307, L308)
- Symptoms: Inorganic or organic tin compounds placed on the skin or in the eyes can produce skin and eye irritation. (L308)
- Route of Exposure: Oral (L308) ; inhalation (L308) ; dermal (L308)