Tin is a metal. Its main ore is called Cassiterite (tin oxide).



Synonyms/Trade Names:

Silver Matt Powder; Stannosis.





Crystallographic Constants:

5.836 5.836 3.182 90.000 90.000 90.000.

Crystal Group:




Optical Properties:




Powder Diagram:

2.92 2.79 2.02 2.06 (18-1382, 4-673);
3.751 2.294 1.956 1.325 ( 5390).

Natural Sources:

Bolivia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Zaire.

Medical Importance:

Key Hazards:


Involved Organs:



Exposure may occur in mining, melting, and use of alloys. World production was 235×103 tons of tin in 1976.


mg/m3 mg/m3
Australia 6
Belgium 2
Finland 2
Hungary 1
United States: ACGIHS 2


Tin ores are often mined together with quartz containing rocks, and an associated silicosis is frequent. Tin mining is associated with increased risk of lung cancer and irritation of eyes and skin. The plain metal can induce an intoxication.

Lung Diseases:

Benign pneumoconiosis.

Clinical Presentation:

The patients are asymptomatic or present with symptoms as usually seen in lung fibrosis or cancer, those with acute intoxication suffer from colic, thoracic pain, and obstipation.


Chest radiographs display interstitial opacities similar to those seen in silicosis, or linear opacities in the paramediastinal lung zones without lymph node enlargement.

Lung Function:

Usually normal findings.

Bronchoalveolar Lavage:

Usually normal findings.



The lungs display several small, grayish to black nodules soft in consistency.


The birefringent crystals are ingested by macrophages and deposited in small collections in the peribronchiolar interstitial tissue. Fibrosis and extended emphysematous changes are usually absent.


Usually good and without serious sequelae.

Additional Diseases:

Eye: Acute conjunctivitis.


Acute irritation.

Gastrointestinal Tract:

Obstipation in patients with acute intoxication.


search Pubmed for Tin

Chiba M, Shinohara A: Inhibation of erythrocyte 5-aminolaevulinate hydrolase activity by tin and its prevention by selenite. Br J Ind Med 49 (1992) 355-358
Dail DH, Hammar SP: Pulmonary Pathology. Springer, New York (1988)
Fraser RG, Paré JAP: Diagnosis of diseases of the chest. WB Saunders, London, Toronto (1979)
Hodgson JT, Jones RD: Mortality of a cohort of tin miners 1941-86. Br J Ind Med 47 (1990) 665-676
Hu T: Changes of non-specific immunity in rats after intratracheal instillation of tin ore dusts. Chung Hua I Hsueh Tsa Chih 70 (1990) 218-220
Huang R: Experimental study on induction of lung cancer in hamster by fifteen chemical elements in the industrial dust from Yunnan tin and other mines. Chung Hua Chung Liu Tsa Chih 12 (1990) 417-420
IARC: Cancer: causes, occurrence and control. IARC Sci Publ 100 (1990)
Jin KW: Pathological survey of lung cancer induced by tin mine dust in Yunnan. Chung Hua Ping Li Hsueh Tsa Chih 18 (1989) 204-206
Kayser K: Analytical Lung Pathology. Springer, Heidelberg, New York (1992)
Lewis RJ: Carcinogenically active chemicals. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1991)
Magos L: Tin. In: L Friberg, GF Nordberg, VB Vouk (Eds): Handbook on the toxicology of metals. Elsevier, Amsterdam. New York (1990)
Qiao YL, Taylor PR, Yao SX, Schatzkin A, Mao BL, Lubin J, Rao JY, McAdams M, Xuan XZ, Li JY: Relation of radon exposure and tobacco use to lung cancer among tin miners in Yunnan Province, China. Am
Rom WN: Stannosis. In: Rom WN (Ed): Environmental and occupational medicine. Little, Brown and Comp, Boston (1983)
Sluis-Cremer GK, Thomas RG, Goldstein B, Soloman A: Stannosis. A report of two cases. A Afr Med J 75 (1989) 124-126
Sun SQ, You ZY, Tan SY, Chen YW, Zhao QF: Pathohistogenetic approach on the etiology of Yunnan tin miner’s lung cancer. Chin Med J Engl 102 (1989) 347-355
Taylor PR, Qiao YL, Schatzkin A, Yao SX, Lubin J, Mao BL, Rao JY, McAdams M, Xuan XZ, Li JY: Relation of arsenic exposure to lung cancer among tin miners in Yunnan Province, China. Br J Ind Med 46 (1989) 881-886
Xuan XZ, Schatzkin A, Mao BL, Taylor PR, Li JY, Tangrea J, Yao SX, Qiao YL, Giffen C, McAdams M: F easib ility of co nd ucting a lun g -can ce r chemoprevention trial among tin miners in Yunnan, PR China. Cancer Causes Control 2 (1991) 175-182
Yu SY, Mao BL, Xiao P, Yu WP, Wang YL, Huang CZ, Chen WQ, Xuan XZ: Intervention trial with selenium for the prevention of lung cancer among tin miners in Yunnan, China. A pilot study. Biol Trace Elem Res 24 (1990) 105-108
Winship KA: Toxicity of tin and its compounds. Adv Drug React Ac Pois Rev 1 (1988) 19-38
Wirth W, Gloxhuber C: Toxikologie. Thieme, Stuttgart (1985)
Wu KG: Analysis of conditional logistic regression for risk factors of lung cancer in Dachang Tin Mine. Chung Hua Chung Liu Tsa Chih 11 (1989) 124-126
Wu KG, Fu H, Mo CZ, Yu LZ: Smelting, underground mining, smoking, and lung cancer: a case-control study in a tin mine area. Biomed Environ Sci 2 (1989) 98-105