Global antioxidant consumption exceeded 700 million lb last year, valued at $750 million, Gastrock says. On a volume basis, Asia Pacific, excluding China, was the largest consuming region with nearly 30%, followed by Europe and North America with about 25% each. China and the rest of the world represented the remaining 20%.
Chinese consumption, however, is expected to almost double in the next five years due to rapid build up of resin production, and by 2009 it should represent 10% of the worldwide antioxidant total, up from a consumption figure of 6% last year.
"Antioxidant consumption tracks global resin production more closely than any other additive because essentially all plastics produced use some [of the additive]," he says. Polyolelfins account for almost 55% usage while vinyl (which uses antioxidants as a secondary heat stabilizer) and styrenics take 25%, reports Townsend. -Robert Colvin; [email protected]