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16. May 2022 | Markets & Companies

Ceresana presents new study on the world market for flame retardants

Ceresana has analysed the global market for all types of fire retardants for the seventh time: including brominated and chlorinated flame retardants as well as ATH, organophosphorus, ATO and other additives. 
Around 2.19 million metric tonnes of flame retardants are used worldwide each year.
Image source: thommas68 - Pixabay (symbol image).

Large quantities of fire-retardant coatings and gelcoats are needed for cars, but also for public transportation. Virtually all materials can be protected against fire and fire consequences, whether plastics, textiles, wood or paper. Ceresana expects the greatest increase in demand for flame retardants to come from the automotive industry sector: the market researchers anticipate an annual growth rate of around 3.1% in this sector until 2030.

Currently consuming almost one-third of total production, the construction industry is expected to remain the largest consumer of flame retardants. Fire retardants are essential for insulating foams, but also, for example, for the sheathing of steel girders in buildings. Electrical and electronic equipment is the second largest application area for flame retardants, with a worldwide consumption of around 525,000 metric tonnes. Highly efficient synergistic combinations of different flame retardants are increasingly being developed, and fire retardants are being tailored specifically for certain applications.

Seeking environmentally compatible flame retardant types

Many flame retardants are controversial because of their potential impact on health and the environment. For instance, they can accumulate in living organisms or release toxins. The recycling of plastics containing flame retardants is also a challenge. Halogen-free aluminum hydroxide, also known as aluminum trihydroxide, is considered relatively environmentally friendly: ATH is by far the world's best-selling flame retardant, with a current market share of 38%. Brominated flame retardants, which are used particularly in electrical products and foams but are considered problematic, come in second.

Government regulations and legal requirements, such as the European Union's RoHS Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, result in significant regional differences: In Western Europe and North America, brominated compounds account for only 5.1% and 11% of the market, respectively – while in Asia they account for 28.4%. Overall, most flame retardants are consumed in Asia-Pacific: This region of the world currently accounts for around 46% of total demand for flame retardants.

Further information on the new market study on flame retardants can be found on the Ceresana website.

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