Plasticizers are organic compounds added to polymers to facilitate processing and to increase the flexibility and toughness of the final product by internal modification of the polymer molecule. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) accounts for 80-90% of world plasticizer consumption. The main factor owing to the growth of this industry is growing consumption from industries like automotive industry, home appliances, electric wires and cables. Phthalates accounted for 70% of the world consumption of plasticizers in 2014, down from approximately 88% in 2005 and are forecast to account for 65% of world consumption in 2020. This decline is due to the increasing concerns over environmental effects.
At present more than 85 percent of all plasticizers consumed in Europe are utilized in adaptable PVC applications, to a great extent for the development, automotive and wire and cable divisions. They are major functional substances that change the physical properties of PVC and different polymers making a radical new universe of adaptable and sturdy completed articles for high performing applications. In the course of the most recent 60 years more than 30,000 distinct substances have been assessed for their plasticizing properties. Of these, exclusive a modest number around 50 are today in commercial use after meeting the rigorous performance, cost, availability, health and environmental requirements which are imposed by the market, users and regulators. The most widely recognized plasticizers incorporate esters.
Because plasticizers are so widely used, they have undergone extensive testing for possible health and environmental effects and are amongst the most widely researched of all chemical substances. In Europe, the safe use of plasticizers is enabled by REACH, the most comprehensive product safety regulation anywhere in the world. Globally, more than eight million tonnes of plasticizers are consumed every year, of which European consumption accounts for over 1.3 million tonnes. Orthophthalates, due to their high degree of compatibility with PVC, are the most widely consumed plasticizers. As can be seen from these figures, major plasticizers are high volume commodity chemicals, which take decades and billions of Euros to achieve full commercial development.
The major application of Epoxidized Soybean Oil is as a plasticizer. The growing need for plasticizers in Europe is set to drive the ESBO market in the near future.
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