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Tin (Sn)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Alkyl tin, aryl tin, blend-a-med Pro-Expert, bronze, canfieldite, cassiterite, Crest® Pro-Health, cylindrite, eallite, metallic tin, methyl tin, native tin, organotin, pewter, Purlytin™, rostaporfin, Sn, SnCl2, SnF2, SnMP, SnO, SnO2, SnPP, stannic, stannite, stannosis, stannous, stannous chloride, stannous fluoride, stannsoporfin, stannum (Latin), tin chloride, tin colloid, tin dioxide, tin ethyl etiopurpurin, tin mesoporphyrin, tin oxide, tin protoporphyrin, tin[II] chloride, tin[II] fluoride, tin[II] oxide, tin[IV] dioxide, tributyltin oxide, tricyclohexyltin hydroxide, triethyl tin, trimethyl tin.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Tin (Sn) is a metallic element whose atomic number is 50 and atomic weight is 118.71. Tin is relatively scarce and makes up only 0.0006% of the earth's crust, where it occurs at a concentration of approximately two parts per million (2ppm). Tin exists as pure metallic tin and as inorganic and organic compounds. In general, organotin compounds do not occur naturally in the environment and are the product of human activities, such as manufacturing. An exception is methyl tin, which may be produced by biomethylation (1). Tin may be found in rock, soil, water, and the air. The primary source of tin is the ore cassiterite (tin dioxide, tin[IV] dioxide, SnO2). Other minerals containing tin include stannite, eallite, cylindrite, and canfieldite. Most of the world's tin comes from Indonesia, China, and Peru. Tin has not been mined in the United States since 1993. Tin forms alloys with other metals, conferring strength and hardness; examples include bronze (tin and copper) and pewter (tin, copper, and lead). Tin is present in some solders, metal alloys used to fuse pieces of metal.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), daily intakes of tin from air, food, and water are small. The natural content of tin in plant and animal tissues is low. Tin is present in natural water in trace amounts; values of less than 0.010mg/L have been reported (2). Diet is the primary source of tin in humans, and the main source of dietary tin is foods that have been stored in tin-lined cans. Cans used to package many foods were originally made entirely from tin, which resists corrosion. Today, "tin" cans are steel cans lined with tinplate, which, in turn, may be lacquered. Lacquer minimizes the amount of tin that leaches into the food. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Registry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 90% of tin-lined cans used to package food today are lacquered. The tin content of foods stored in lacquered and unlacquered tin-lined cans has been estimated to be 0-6.9mg/kg and 1-1,000mg/kg, respectively. The tin content of foods not stored in tin cans (e.g., vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, eggs) is generally less than 2mg/kg, although higher values have been reported for grains and grain products (3).
  • Inorganic tin compounds are used in toothpaste (e.g., stannous fluoride, tin(II) fluoride, SnF2), perfumes, and soaps. As a food additive, stannous chloride (tin[II] chloride, SnCl2) serves as a preservative and color retention agent. Organotin compounds are used in the manufacture of plastics, pesticides, paints, wood preservatives, and rodent repellants.
  • Studies using tin as a monotherapy in humans are lacking. Further research is needed before tin may be recommended for any medical condition.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.