Worldwide demand for plasticizers is predicted to jump to more than 7.6 million tons per year until 2018, according to a new report from Ceresana Research. While demand for plasticizers in North America and Western Europe is expected to see below-average growth in the future, demand in countries such as India, Russia, and Brazil will increase by more than 4% per year. The Asia-Pacific region is already the largest market for plasticizers, with China holding the top position with a share of about two-thirds.

The most important application areas of plasticizers include floorings, profiles, cables and films made of plastics. They account for more than half of all demand because some PVC grades contain up to 40% plasticizers. However, demand in the adhesive, paint and rubber industries is increasing even faster than in the plastics sector.

In 2010, the market was still dominated by phthalate plasticizers. With a roughly 54% share, di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) was the most important plasticizer. However, DEHP will be increasingly replaced by other plasticizers over the next years. Due to legal provisions and growing environmental awareness, producers are increasingly forced to use non-phthalate plasticizers (e.g., those based on vegetable oils). In North America, for example, alternative plasticizers had a 30% share in 2010.

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