Tin pest is important in modern time, as most tin-lead solder has been replaced with solder containing primarily tin. Tin metal may spontaneously decompose into a powder, causing problems where the metal is used.
Tin pest has historical significance, too. Explorer Robert Scott sought to become the first to reach the South Pole in 1910. The tin soldered cans the team cached on their route were empty of kerosene, potentially from poor soldering, but possibly because tin pest caused the cans to leak. There is a tale of Napoleon's men freezing in the Russian cold when tin pest disintegrated the buttons of their uniforms, though this has never been proven to have occurred.