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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Organic Compounds in the Environment

Screening for Organotin Compounds in European Landfill Leachates


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 5, p. 1604-1611
    Received: July 14, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): mersiowsky@tutech.de
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  1. I. Mersiowsky *a,
  2. R. Brandschb and
  3. J. Ejlertssonc
  1. a TUHH Technologie GmbH (TuTech) Integrated Management, Schellerdamm 4, D-21079 Hamburg, Germany
    b Limnological Institute Dr. Nowak, Mayenbrook 1, D-28870 Ottersberg, Germany
    c Univ. of Linköping, Dep. of Water and Environmental Studies, S-58183 Linköping, Sweden


As industrial chemicals, organotin compounds are predominantly applied as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) stabilizers and biocides. They are widely encountered in environmental samples and may be introduced into landfills by disposal of municipal solid waste or sewage sludge. In the present study, leachate samples were obtained from several sanitary landfill sites in Sweden, Italy, and Germany. These samples were analyzed by means of a highly sensitive and species-selective method for methyltin, butyltin, and octyltin species. In total, twelve samples from eight different landfill sites at various ages were investigated. The findings of all target compounds range between less than the limit of detection at 0.1 μg/L and, at maximum, 4 μg/L. Only octyltin compounds can be attributed to PVC products with any certainty, whereas for methyltin and butyltin compounds alternative and less distinct sources exist. Organotin compounds are subject to microbial transformation, such as dealkylation and methylation processes. Consequently, caution should be exercised when attributing findings to potential sources and deriving any predicted environmental concentrations.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:1604–1611.