Main content area

The impact of organotin pollution on aquatic invertebrate communities—are molluscs the only group whose populations have been affected?

Matthiessen, Peter
Current opinion in environmental science & health 2019 v.11 pp. 13-20
Crustacea, Urochordata, antifouling agents, aquatic invertebrates, bioactive properties, biocides, environmental impact, environmental monitoring, ingredients, molluscs, pollutants, pollution, tributyltin, wildlife
This review explores the impact of pollutants on aquatic wildlife populations employing the case of tributyltin (TBT), a widely used antifouling paint ingredient banned globally in 2008. Attention has focused primarily on TBT's effects on populations of mollusc species, but this review shows that many other species were affected to a greater or lesser extent, including crustaceans, tunicates and sponges. Marine invertebrate communities were seriously impoverished and are still recovering. TBT was marketed long before biocides were systematically evaluated for their adverse environmental effects, and it is concluded that modern chemical regulatory programmes would likely detect a substance with similar properties. However, environmental monitoring programmes might well miss a TBT lookalike and should be modernised to focus more on the detection of biological effects.