Tributyltin (TBT) is an additive to a number of products used throughout the industrialized world. According to a Cornell University website:
TBTO (TBT Oxide) and eight additional TBT compounds are registered for use as marine antifoulants. Other TBT compounds are used as disinfectants, fungicidal wood preservatives, textile disinfectants, and stabilizers in PVC resin. Paper and pulp mills, cooling towers, breweries, textile mills and leather-processing facilities may also use some forms of TBT. Collectively these compounds are referred to as organotins
Since we all use textiles and many of us have PVC in our homes, nearly all of us are exposed to this substance.
However, research suggests that exposure to this substance may lead to lowered sperm counts. An article in Environmental Toxicology The paper describes an experiment in which mice was exposed prenatally and throughout weaning to TBT. Even months after the exposure stopped, male mice had greatly reduced sperm counts and sperm motility. Male mice also experienced alternations in hormonal levels.
It is always difficult to avoid environmental toxins, and the best defense is difficult. To avoid this substance, it is necessary not only to eat organically but to wear organically produced clothing and to build one's own home with natural, untreated materials. How many people can afford that? Not too many. Judging from the list on the Cornell site, it might be useful to avoid beer and leather. Hmm.
TBT is not the only compound that can alter male fertility. BPA and phthalates are others. Heavy cell phone use, especially if the cell phone is kept in a trouser pocket, have also been linked to lower sperm counts. For more information, please watch the documentary The Disappearing Male. The video on this page is a promo. If you want to watch the full film, please click on this link.