Toxic substance list: tributyltins (TBTs)

Tributyltins (TBTs) are part of a group of substances called organotins, which are mainly used in the processing of PVC (a type of plastic) and as pesticides. TBTs for non-pesticidal uses are no longer manufactured or used in Canada as a primary material, but may be present in other organotin products (mono- and dibutyltins containing less than 1% of TBTs and tetrabutyltin containing up to 30% of TBTs).

The Follow-up to the 1993 Ecological Risk Assessment of Organotin Substances on Canada’s Domestic Substances List was published by Environment Canada in the Canada Gazette, Part I on August 8, 2009, under section 68 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). This assessment report concluded that non-pesticidal TBTs are entering, or may enter, the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity, as defined in paragraph 64(a) of CEPA.

Based on the conclusions of the assessment, it was therefore recommended that non-pesticidal TBTs be added to Schedule 1 of CEPA. Additionally, tributyltins meet the criteria for persistence and bioaccumulation potential as set out in the Persistence and Bioaccumulation Regulations.

In addition, Health Canada conducted in 2003 an assessment of the human health effects of non-pesticidal organotins and concluded that non-pesticidal organotins, including tributyltins, do not meet the criteria set out under paragraph 64(c) of CEPA.

TBTs were added to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012. Furthermore the following initiatives are in place or are being developed to manage any potential release of substances where TBTs may be present:

For more information on organotin substances, please visit the Chemical Substances Website.

Risk Assessment 

Risk Management Strategy 

Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:

Risk Management Tools

Tools developed to manage risks associated with the substance:


Consultation (past and present) on the substance:


Chemicals Management Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3


Substances Management Information Line:
Telephone: 1-800-567-1999 (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231


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