Tin is widely distributed in nature and has been economically important for man since the Bronze Age. However, from a biological point of view, tin and its compounds have excited relatively little interest. Most research has been related to the toxicity of tin and its compounds, mainly because of man’s exposure to tin from canned foods and various organotin compounds used as plasticizers and as fungicides. A review on tin and man and foods by Schroeder et al. (1964) treated tin as an abnormal trace element, concluding that “measurable tin is not necessary for life or health.” This conclusion was based mainly on the fact that with the then current, but inadequate, methods of analysis, zero levels of tin were found in the newborn and in organs of natives of some foreign countries. This thinking was changed when Schwarz et al. (1970) reported that various tin compounds stimulated growth in rats fed highly purified diets if trace element contamination from the environment was rigidly excluded. They went on to suggest that tin may be essential. This work, however, remains to be confirmed by other investigators.


Stannous Chloride Organotin Compound Stannic Oxide Trace Element Contamination Dibutyltin Dichloride 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Milne
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research CenterDepartment of AgricultureGrand ForksUSA

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