Tributyltin contamination in bivalves from United States coastal estuaries.
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Most oysters and mussels from U.S. coastal waters are contaminated with tributyltin (TBT) and its less toxic breakdown products (dibutyltin and monobutyltin). The concentrations of TBTs range from <5 to 1560 (366 av.) ng of Sn g-1 dry weight as tin and account on average for 74% of the tin present as butyltins. Replicate oyster samples from a specific site concentrate TBT to the same level. Concentrations of TBT found in oysters varied both spacially and temporally. Both oysters and mussels concentrate TBT from their environment and are therefore excellent sentinel organisms to monitor the environmental levels of TBT available to marine organisms.