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Cost Effective Regulatory Compliant Plasticizer Alternatives

Donald Rosato – Feb 20, 2018

Cost-Effective Plasticizer AlternativeThe global plasticizer market is undergoing basic structural changes. Consumer and concurrently regulatory anxieties are driving this change. Cost effective alternatives including bio-based replacements, geared to meet higher performance plasticizer needs is the underlying theme.

There is a move away from traditional DEHP (Di(2-EthylHexyl) Phthalate) plasticizers as regulations become stricter globally, particularly in Europe.

Phthalate plasticizers still dominate in the marketplace. But, are on a long-term downward trend going from a 60% market share in 2012 down to a 56% market share currently. Overall phthalate plasticizer market growth is still 1.2% annually, but well below overall plasticizer market growth of 2.5%.

The plasticizer market continues to straddle environmental anxieties. Hence, it is important to stay updated with recent regulations on phthalate plasticizers. Check out the current regulatory updates here:

Regulatory Update on Phthalate Plasticizers


Plasticizer concerns date back to the late 1970s, when Greenpeace first started to connect low molecular weight phthalate plasticizer use to toxicity. It has led to a continual gradual decline in the use of low molecular weight phthalate plasticizer.

In turn this has led to increased research and development of phthalate alternatives. For example, in the USA over the last three years, key home products retailers such as: Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart have started to strongly move away from llow molecular weight phthalate plasticizer in flooring products.

The main factors in scrutinizing flooring are due to:

 − Phthalate plasticizers are a highly visible consumer product
 − They are a product of close contact with consumers, and
 − Their effect on indoor air quality

Flooring Application Plasticizers
Flooring Application Plasticizers, Indicators of Plasticizer Substitution
Source: Eastman Chemical Company


Roughly 35% of all major industrial country’s plasticizer use revolves around DINP (DiIsoNonyl Phthalate). For the last five years DINP has come under tighter European control. However, ECHA (European Chemicals Agency, an agency of the European Union) when recently updated by the European Plasticizers industry group declared that a classification of DINP as toxic to reproduction is not currently warranted.

This back and forth will continue with further risk assessments by ECHA being parried by European Plasticizers. Furthermore, ECHA has called for use restriction of DEHP (Di(2-EthylHexyl) Phthalate) and related low molecular weight phthalate plasticizer on products manufactured in or imported into Europe.

The European Plasticizers industry group welcomed the restriction in creating a level playing field on imported goods from outside the EU (European Union). But, reserved judgement on in Europe manufactured DEHP and related plasticizers. Look for this same regulatory thinking to pervade other major geographies (North America, Asia) over time.

European Chemicals Agency & Plasticizers
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) (L); European Plasticizers (R)


On a positive note, looking towards the future of phthalate alternatives; ECHA has concluded based on recently published risk analysis studies that Acetyl TriButyl Citrate (ATBC) type alternatives are adequate, particularly in:

 − Medical
 − Food
 − Toy, and
 − Similar sensitive end use applications

ATBC type alternatives will certainly work harmoniously with Walmart’s ongoing policy to replace plastic packaging. Here, DiEthyl Phthalate (DEP) and DiButyl Phthalate (DBP) plasticizers are currently in use.


 » Continue reading to find out innovative alternative plasticizer systems and their value propositions in market! 

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