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Tin Toxicity

Tin (Sn) Urine accounts for at least 80% of excreted Tin that is ingested and absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Ingested Tin is not significantly absorbed if it is an inorganic form. Oxide coatings readily form on metallic Tin, and salts can quickly oxidize making them insoluble. Organic Tin, however, is bioavailable and more readily absorbed. Some organic Tin compounds such as short-chain alkyltins can be absorbed transdermal and can cause degeneration of myelin. Food and drink usually provide small daily intakes of (nontoxic) Tin, with amounts depending upon type of food, packaging, quality of drinking water and water piping materials. Total daily intake is expected to vary from about 0.1 to 15 milligrams.

Tin is present in many metal alloys and solders; bronze, brass and pewter contain the element. Dyes, pigments and bleaching agents often contain Tin. Anticorrosion plating of steel and electrical components may also use Tin. "Tin cans" are Tin-plated steel with a thin outer oxide layer allowing the surface to be shiny but inert. Modern food-containing cans usually have polymer coatings that prevent food-metal contact. In the past some toothpastes contained stannous fluoride, a soluble fluoride source for strengthening tooth enamel. Currently most brands of fluoridated toothpastes contain sodium fluoride. Organic Tins, the usually toxic forms, are: biocides triphenyltin and alkyltins) used against rodents, fungi, insects and mites; curing agents for rubbers and silicones (dialkyltin); and methyltin formed bacteriologically (similar to methyl mercury).

Mildly elevated levels of Tin in urine may reflect sporadic dietary intake and excretion; there may be no associated symptoms. A two- or three-fold increase in urine Tin levels is not uncommon following administration of EDTA or with sulfhydryl agents (DMSA, D-penicillamine, DMPS). Early signs of chronic organic Tin excess can be: reduced sense of smell, headaches, fatigue and muscle aches, ataxia and vertigo. Hyperglycemia and glucosuria are reported. Also, for organic Tin exposure, there can be irritation of contacted tissues (eyes, skin, bronchial tubes, or GI tract). Later, immune dysfunction may occur with reduced lymphocytes and leukocytes; mild anemia may occur. Tin is commonly elevated in urine from autistic patients following administration of EDTA, DMSA or DMPS.

If you suspect that you have an elevated Tin level, it is important to determine total body load. Here at Chelation Medical Center we can do an IV chelation provoked challenge, with a urine collection which will show your total body load of Tin, as well as other heavy metals. Just give us a call.


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