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A review of biocide products and new developments in biocides for plastics

 

Hygiene issues have been becoming increasing relevant in the last few years. With increasing population, it is inevitable to find a solution to reduce the problems with microbial contaminations. Bacteria, fungi and algae can be major problems in health, construction, food and packaging industries. Contamination problems are especially relevant in the health industry- several cases of infections in hospitals can be prevented through hygiene and disinfection.
Biocidal products are active substances and preparations containing one or more active substances, intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, prevent the action of, or otherwise exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. Biocidal products include disinfectants used in a number of fields, chemicals used as preservatives of materials and products, pesticides for non-agricultural uses, and anti-vegetation products. A biocidal active substance can be one chemical compound with a well-defined structure, a mixture-by-process of two or more chemical compounds, an UVCB-substance (substances with Unknown or Variable composition, Complex reaction products or Biological materials), microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungii, viruses, extracts and oils of plants and microorganisms, fermentation products of microorganisms.
Antimicrobial can be used to control the build up and growth of bacteria in surfaces, such as plastics and other materials. The market for antimicrobial additives has been developing steadily, with the largest market share for the food and beverages industry. The use of biocides in plastics is commonplace. They are added to protect the plastic from degradation by microbes or to provide an external antimicrobial hygienic surface. Most demanding sectors are food processing plants, hospitals, care homes offering an ideal environment for microbes, and the incorporation of biocides in plastics and rubbers helping reduce time and money consuming cleaning. Bacteria, fungi and algae can affect the aesthetic and physical properties of a plastic by causing black spotting or discoloration, pink staining, odor and polymer degradation, fouling etc. Biocides used to fight these microorganisms have two main roles:
* To stop bacteria or fungi degrading the polymer physical and sensorial properties, reduce microbe populations both within the material and at the surface. The growth of microorganisms can lead to unpleasant odors, surface and bulk degradations. Reducing odors is a goal for applications such as clothing, shoes, waste containers etc.
* To prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria increasing the risk of contamination and transmission of infections for humans. Biocide acts as a complementary technique for cleaning, which is also simplified and less costly.
Biocides are selected on the basis of their function and the application for which they are intended, but choosing the right biocide is often not so simple. As well as biocidal performance, the in-process stability, migration, leach ability, light and heat stability may all be important factors.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the biocides industry had a difficult year in 2007 as margins are being squeezed by increasing raw material and energy costs. In addition, the biocides industry had to contend with increasing regulatory pressures and generic competition from China and India. Most biocide active ingredient manufacturers are 'positive' on this market due to favorable trends, and while it may be difficult to develop new active ingredients, there is a lot of development work going on to find the right combination of actives and new formulations to adapt to end-user demands. The global consumption of biocides in plastics was valued at US$145 mln at active manufacture level in 2006, 40% growth on 1996. This performance reflects not only end industry growth, regulatory and technological changes but also the growing use of biocides as hygiene aids. The market for Biocides in Plastics will continue to grow due to the usage in an increased number of polymer types and the replacement of traditional biocides by more expensive environmentally friendly Biocides. Specialty biocides include bactericides and fungicides. North America accounted for approximately 40% of this total. But several factors are combining to bring the total market value up and the North American percentage down. Countries such as China, Eastern Europe, India and South America continue to offer growth opportunities as per capita income rises and human health issues are accorded more importance. Basic biocide producers will rely more on specialty niches ie hygiene sector for growth. With mature markets in the large consuming regions and generic products starting to affect the market environment, specialty niches will offer a profitable outlet for active ingredient manufacturers. With increased attention to specialty market sectors and growing regional markets, Biocide companies are expected to introduce new formulations to address shifts in demand. And these companies must also examine the specific needs of each regional market to adjust their strategies for growth accordingly. The Chinese market demand for biocides will increase by 7.9% annually 574,000 metric tons in the year 2010. Biocides output reached 81,300 metric tons in 1990 and the figure was about 234,800 metric tons in 2000 with the average annual growth rate of 11.2% in the past ten years. China will remain a large importer of biocides through this century. China will also keep importing some types of biocides due to the surging demand and insufficient supply of top grade products by the domestic market. In 1990, China imported 7,300 metric tons of biocides and related products. At the same time, exports of biocides were active. In 1990, the exports were 2,500 metric tons, and the figure reached 5,400 metric tons by the end of 2000. In this century, the exports of biocides will continue to increase and the figure will reach 11,000 metric tons in 2005. The Chinese biocides industry will continue to remain a hot spot for foreign investment through the next century.
Traditional biocides are being replaced by more environment-friendly biocides also more expensive. Silver based biocide is a new development, growing at 10% pa, and Non-arsenic based formulations are rising at 10-20% pa. The major groups of biocides are:
     •   Arsenic derivatives
     •   Metal derivatives
     •   Halogen and aromatic derivatives
     •   Sulphur derivatives
     •   Thiazines, thiazolinones
     •   Nitrogen derivatives
     •   Miscellaneous
Biocide applications are well growing when the media is particularly favourable to micro-organism proliferation such as food processing plants or hospitals, consumer goods such as clothing or phones, etc.
* Food processing devices: conveyor rollers, ice-making machines, chopping boards, kitchen wear
* Hospitals: implants such as catheters, and external devices such as stethoscope diaphragms, medical gloves, floor and wall coverings, switches, toilet seats and door handles, waste bags and refuse containers, healthcare furnishings, soap and tissue dispensers, electronic handsets, water filter housings, pharmaceutical packaging.
* Fibres: hosiery, carpets, clothing, bedding and upholstery, work wear, sportswear, shoes, boots
* Home furniture such as shower and bathroom equipment, sinks, tubs, shower-curtains, vanity tops, children's chairs, mattress pads, countertops, bed linens, smooth floors, table cloths
* Garden furniture
* Films for waste bags, mattress covers, packaging
* Aquatic media: PVC pool and pond-liners, tarpaulins, marine upholstery, antifouling coatings for waterborne craft
* Adhesives & Sealants
Biocides are subjected to numerous regulations varying according to the countries
European REACH (Registration Evaluation Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals)
European Biocide Product Directive (BPD)
US Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (for food use)
Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA)
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
US National Science Foundation (NSF)
ANSI/NSF Standard 51
The average growth of the biocides industry in India is 9.1%, exceeding average growth rates in China, according to a research by Kline & Company. The high rate of industrialization, driving need for improved water systems, growth of the adhesives and sealants market and the automotive industry, increasing metalworking fluids usage, domestic ship growth with focus on off-shore exploration, as well as changing consumer demographics, are some of the key growth factors for specialty biocides. With limited regulatory control for biocide usage within the Indian market, higher priced specialties will continue to face stiff competition from commodity biocides. So, despite the many strong growth drivers, specialty biocide uptake will be hindered by the cheaper alternative commodities, unless end-user companies are focused on export markets. As per the report, paints and coatings consume the greatest volume of formulated biocides in India, with just over a 90% share of the formulated biocides market. Formulated biocides consumption will grow at 12.3% in value, whereas single actives consumed in paints and coatings at 11.0%. Cooling water is the dominant market in India for single-active biocides and is growing at a healthy 10.9%. The formulated biocide suppliers would continue to hold an edge over the single active biocide suppliers as they possess the advantage of supplying a blend of product chemistries at a reasonable cost. Despite the global economic slowdown, the forecast of India's GDP growth measures approximately 8% for the next three years, and its economy is the focus of much international attention. The Indian paints and coatings industry has been receiving a lot of attention, as foreign manufacturers regard decorative coatings, automotive coatings, and general industries coatings as attractive segments for investment in India. The major players in the Indian paints and coatings industry, such as Asian Paints, Akzo Nobel India Ltd, Kansai Nerolac, and Berger Paints, are establishing new plants or expanding current capacities to serve Indian markets. In addition to the entry of the new players, there has been a high degree of consolidation taking place in the Indian market. In addition to the growth of production volume, expectations of paints and coatings customers in the country with regards to product quality have increased. For many medium- to large-sized coatings manufacturers, quality is becoming a more important factor than cost and therefore an increasing number of paints and coatings manufacturers have begun using biocides. The heavy industry segment is the major end user of specialty biocides in cooling water systems. This includes petrochemical plants, refineries, power plants, iron and steel mills, and chemical manufacturers. Demand for cooling water is forecast to grow at a rate of 15% annually over the next five years.

 
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