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Tin Compounds

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment at what date tributyltin and organotin compounds were added to his Department's red list; and from what external sources advice or evidence was received on this decision.

Tributyltin and tryphenyltin compounds were included on the initial red list of priority substances liable to pose a threat to the aquatic environment, which was announced on 10 April 1989 following the issue of a consultation paper. There were, in total, 80 responses to the consultation exercise, of which seven specially commented on the inclusion of these substances on the list. Copies of these responses were placed in the Library of the House on 10 April, with the exception of one respondent who asked for their comments to be treated in confidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what research has been completed or is in process on the toxicity of tributyltin and organotin compounds.

Much of the research which led to the existing controls on triorganotins is referred to in DOE pollution paper 25 (Organotin in anti-fouling paints: environmental considerations). This was published in 1986 and a copy has already been placed in the Library of the House. Twenty seven scientific papers and reports produced subsequently under DOE funding are listed in the DOE report on research and development 1986–1988. Current research funded by the Department of the Environment at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Burnham laboratory and at the Plymouth marine laboratory is mainly concerned with monitoring recovery since the ban imposed in 1987 and assessing the implications of tributyltin use on vessels over 25 metres.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to commission an environment impact statement on the use of tributyltin or organotin compounds in anti-fouling paints and on alternative anti-fouling systems.

No. All antifouling preparations have to be notified under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986. Approvals are granted or withheld following an assessment of possible impact on human health and the environment. Tributyltin compounds have not been approved for use on small boats or in fish farming; other uses are being kept under review by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides.