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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Tributyltin' Category


Study Finds Controversial Pesticide May Contribute to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2008) Tributyltin (also known as TBT), a ubiquitous pollutant that has a potent effect on gene activity, could be promoting obesity, according to an article in the December issue of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The chemical is used in antifouling paints for boats, as a wood and textile preservative, and as a pesticide on high-value food crops, among many other applications. Tributyltin affects sensitive receptors in the cells of animals, from water fleas to humans, at very low concentrations–a thousand times lower than pollutants that are known to interfere with sexual development of wildlife species. Tributyltin and its relatives are highly toxic to mollusks, causing female snails to develop male sexual characteristics, and it bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. Recent research has found it in deep-sea squids and octopods, and it has been banned for maritime use by an international treaty. The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver and the nervous and immune systems in mammals are well known, but its powerful effects on the cellular components known as retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in a range of species are a recent discovery. When activated, RXRs can migrate into […]



Pesticides Contaminate Deep-Sea Food Web

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2008) A new study reports that pesticides, including DDT and tributyltin (TBT), have been found in deep-sea squids and octopods. This study is the first to analyze the chemical contamination of these deep sea organisms, and adds to the body of literature that demonstrates the far-reaching effects of pesticide use on global ecosystems. Pesticide contamination has been documented as far away from the point of use as the arctic and now the deep sea. In the study, to be published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, Michael Vecchione of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and colleagues from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of The College of William and Mary report finding a wide variety of chemical contaminants in nine species of cephalopods, a class of organisms that includes cuttlefishes and nautiluses along with squids and octopods. Cephalopods are important to the diet of cetaceans, which are marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the blubber of whales and some deep sea fish has already been documented. The twenty-two specimens analyzed were taken from depths between 1000 and 2000 meters (approximately 3,300 and 6,600 ft.) in the North […]



International Treaty to Ban Maritime Use of Toxic Chemical

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2007) Tributyltin (TBT), a cheap, but highly toxic barnacle and algae killer once used on nearly all of the world’s 30,000 commercial ships, will soon be banned once a treaty prohibiting its use is signed by the U.S. The ban on TBT, deemed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the most toxic chemical ever deliberately released into the world’s waters, is endorsed by U.S. and European cruise lines, freighter and container fleets, as well as shipyard and marina operators. The U.S. is expected to sign the treaty in the coming months. The treaty is overseen by the U.N. International Maritime Organization and was completed in October 2001. However, Washington has yet to endorse the treaty. By 2008, neither the ships of ratifying countries nor foreign vessels that enter their waters will be allowed to have TBT on their hulls without a sealant. Ships found in violation will be put on an international blacklist and barred by other ratifying countries. Along with forbidding the use of TBT on the hulls of marine vessels, the treaty also sets up a system for future testing and curbs on other hull biocides worldwide. Researchers have linked TBT to […]