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Phthalate Alternatives: The Situation Is Not Fixed Yet

SpecialChem / Sep 1, 2010

The high number of respondents and the lack of a clear choice of preferred chemistry confirm that the issue of phthalate alternatives has not been decided.

The older plasticizer technologies in the survey, sulfonated alkyl phenol, adipic and citric acid esters, though not the only widely used, well-established phthalate alternative plasticizers commercial today, do have the lead in meeting the goals majority of phthalate alternative strategies, an issue dating back 25 years.

What is the below alternative to phthalate plasticizers that best fits with your needs?

The strong results in our survey, of a few of the new chemistry-related technologies, strongly implies that many consumer product producers are recognizing the added value of bio-based and sustainable (non-petroleum) esters for PVC applications. Vegetable and animal oil-based esters were early candidates for PVC plasticizers. Many of these esters became non-viable for performance reasons related to poorer hydrolysis, UV, oxidation resistance, and compatibility. At the same time, the low cost, and superior performance and availability of petroleum-sourced raw materials grew. Today’s technology to chemically (or genetically) modify and refined natural products have made natural esters viable technically and economically for many PVC applications.

DINCH (and DOTP) chemistry straddle the experience gap between the older process technologies and the new ones. The older processes bring with them a well-documented long-term performance history in PVC, while the newer chemical processes used to produce vegetable-sourced esters have somewhat limited long-term performance history. A structure similar to the phthalates makes performance prediction somewhat more certain, which seems to be recognized by our voting community.

There is no doubt that the many chemistries on offer today have adequate performance for some PVC applications. The choice will be made clearer by a better definition of the technical and market environment, to which a plasticized PVC compound containing phthalate alternative will be exposed. The manufacturing economies of scale for future production will be improved with time.

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