Mr. Shambhu Nath Jha, Research Head – Chemicals at Fact.MR, discusses latest trends shaping Europe’s vinyl flooring plasticizers marketplace
Vinyl flooring plasticizers continue to witness steady demand, particularly in the construction industry, significantly influenced by multimodal factors ranging from the general economic condition to continued demand for plasticizers across industry verticals. Worldwide consumption of phthalate based plasticizers has declined significantly in the wake of the phase out of phthalates. As major industry leaders are engaged in the phase out initiative, demand for non-phthalate plasticizers is growing at a steady pace. Europe has a strict regulatory framework that monitors manufacturing and market entry of chemicals to protect human and environmental health and promote the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. In addition to the stringent regulatory environment, the plasticizer market in Europe is expected to remain under the influence of fluctuations in the supply-demand gap and dependency on imports.
Q. What is the future of vinyl flooring plasticizers in Europe?
A. Europe plasticizer industry is committed to establishing sustainability in the chemicals value-chain in terms of ensuring the safe use of products across applications. As extensive R&D efforts and rigorous regulatory reforms are underway to establish safe use of different type of plasticizers, Europe vinyl flooring plasticizers market will grow at a steady rate. However, the region remains highly dependent on imports for plasticizers making it vulnerable to fluctuations in raw material prices, trade flows and demand-supply gap.
Q. How will the adoption of dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) evolve amid regulatory reforms in Europe?
A. In June 2018, the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published an opinion which does not warrant classification of DINP for reproductive and developmental toxicity under the European Union’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulation. ECHA’s conclusion regarding DINP provides additional support for the safe use of DINP in current products. While DINP has a price point advantage, presence of diverse DOTP suppliers in Europe pulls customer towards DOTP which is a convenient alternative of phthalate plasticizers. However, DOTP, DINP and di-n-octylphthalate (DNOP) are restricted by REACH regulation for their use in toys and children articles.
Q. Where is the demand for vinyl flooring plasticizer concentrated in Europe?
Germany and the United Kingdom remain the significant consumer of vinyl flooring plasticizers in Europe. A significant market for construction materials, increasing demand for flooring products and growing consumer awareness for environmentally friendly products significantly impact consumption of vinyl flooring plasticizer in these countries.
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