2014 More of the same?

2013 was a challenging year in the dynamic plasticizer industry. On the regulatory front there was good news for DINP. After extensive research and consultation ECHA concluded that no further restrictions are needed, basically declaring this phthalate plasticzer safe for use in all existing applications. However things are never easy and more confusion was created when suddenly DINP was added to the Californian Proposition 65 list. This means the state of California thinks the product causes cancer. Experts will know and confirm that the ECHA report is far more scientific based, but the media distributes all the news and everybody can guess themselves what kind of new gets more attention. More damage done to the reputation of phthalates.
On the supply side of things 2013 was also full of surprises. It felt like every month a new player was offering DOTP and this product did grow very well, especially in Europe. Arkema did announce to shut down their DOP plant which will trigger a shift away from DOP especially in the medical industry. This industry did stick to DOP as long as possible for various reasons. At the moment products like TOTM, DOTP and DINCH are replacing DOP increasingly in various applications.
With regard to new products it has to be noticed that bio based products are getting more attention, however the true sales volume will be rather limited due to performance, price and availability challenges. Benzoates also did get a lot of attention with companies like Emerald and Ferro investing heavily in capacity and apparently successfully.
In 2014 I unfortunenately expect more of the same. On the regulatory front conflicting messages will continue to be spreaded and not always will the scientific based message get the most attention. DOTP will continue to aggresively grow and replace traditional phthalate plasticizers. I also expect that bio based plasticizers will get more attention and perhaps this year also will get more volume behind them.

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