Additives for Polymers (v.2010, #2)

As a result of negotiations with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several major manufacturers of flame retardants have announced that they will progressively phase out decabromodiphenyl ether (deca-BDE) in the US marketplace. According to the EPA, manufacturers including Chemtura Corp, Albemarle Corp and ICL Industrial Products (ICL-IP) have voluntarily committed to phase out deca-BDE from most uses in the USA by 31 December 2012, and to end all uses by the end of 2013.

Dow Chemical has launched Paraloid BPM-515, a new acrylic impact modifier formulated to impart toughness to polylactic acid (PLA) while maintaining clarity. Developed in response to the needs of manufacturers of sustainable bioplastic packaging and durable products, the new product enables lower-cost toughened PLA compounds for manufacturers trying to penetrate these markets with environmentally advanced solutions for sustainable growth, Dow says. It believes that the combination of imparted toughness and reduced cost will enable greater innovation and growth in the automotive, medical and electronics industries.

US masterbatch producer Ampacet has introduced an improved UV absorber for clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) applications such as bottles. The company says that the CrystalClear™ PET UV additive masterbatch is 75% more effective than standard absorbers of UVA for PET, providing greater clarity at a more favourable cost.

Louisiana-based speciality chemicals firm Albemarle Corp has announced an advance in flame retardant technology with the launch of its new Earthwise™ family of sustainable, eco-friendly products. The company says that the first product under the new brand, fire-safety solution GreenArmor™, is due to be commercially available in late 2010.

Chemtura Corp has entered into a definitive agreement with SK Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm focusing on the speciality materials, chemicals and healthcare industries, concerning the acquisition of Chemtura's global PVC Additives business. The sale will include certain assets, the stock of a European subsidiary and the assumption of certain liabilities.

The European Commission is planning to recast its directive concerning the restriction of certain hazardous substances (RoHS) in electronic equipment. The draft report from the RoHS rapporteur, UK MEP Jill Evans, proposes to restrict the use of additional substances including the entire family of brominated flame retardants as well as the flame-retardant synergist antimony trioxide (ATO).

Swiss speciality chemicals company Clariant has signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Euromaster, a limited liability company based in Russia specializing in the manufacture of masterbatches. The transaction, which has been approved by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation, is for an undisclosed sum.

Israel's Kafrit Group reports that it plans to invest in a new production line at its German subsidiary Constab Polyolefin Additives GmbH. This will increase Constab's manufacturing capacity by some 3000 tonnes per year and improve efficiency. The Rüthen-based company is currently producing at full capacity, according to Kafrit.

Austrian masterbatch specialist Gabriel-Chemie GmbH reports that it is defying the economic crisis and is instead using the current conditions as an opportunity for positive change. The company has invested in both capacity expansions and increased staffing levels at a number of sites in Europe.

Akron-based A. Schulman Inc is buying ICO, a global producer of polymer powders and plastic film concentrates. The deal boosts Schulman's position in global markets for rotational moulding and masterbatch materials and provides an opportunity for the company to expand globally.

In Belgium, Nanocyl SA is installing a new reactor with a capacity of 400 tonnes/year for the production of its NC 7000 carbon nanotube (CNT) technologies. The new reactor, scheduled to come online in July 2010, will be located in Sambreville.

German chemicals company Lanxess AG posted net profit for the third quarter of 2009 of €23 million, down 59% from €56 million for 3Q 2008. However, thanks to strong performance in China and successful cost-cutting measures the figure was much higher than the €9.1 million expected by analysts, the company reports. Net profit was also up 35% on the 2Q 2009 level of €17 million.

ChemTec Publishing has released the third edition of Handbook of Fillers by George Wypych. This title provides a direct comparison of general-purpose fillers, which are typically micron-sized, and nanofillers. It is designed to be single source of information for an experienced practitioner as well as a reference text for students and those new to the fields where fillers are used, the publisher says.

For the third quarter of 2009, Arkema posted sales of €1.103 billion, down 23.9% from €1.45 billion in 3Q 2008. EBITDA of €101 million showed evidence of recovery, up 44% over 2Q 2009, though down 25% compared to 3Q 2008. However, as the result of a tax deduction of €27 million, the company posted a net loss of €3 million in 3Q 2009, against net income of €40 million for the same quarter of 2008.

William Andrew, an imprint of Elsevier, has published Additives for Polyolefins by Michael Tolinski. According to the publisher, this book will serve as a usable, accessible resource for those who create and use polyolefin compounds.

Analytical equipment manufacturer PerkinElmer, Inc, has developed new phthalate detection solutions in response to growing concern over the hazardous content of consumer products. The company says that its GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) systems help to ensure that consumer products comply with the current European Union (EU) regulations for plasticizer content in toys and other children's products.

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) inhaled by mice reach the outer lining of the lungs and cause unique pathological changes, according to a study published in Nature Nanotechnology by James Bonner and colleagues at North Carolina State University. The researchers say the results should be interpreted with caution but suggest that minimizing the inhalation of CNTs during handling of the material is necessary until further long-term assessments of the lungs' response have been conducted.