Chemical Business: May 2007

The Biocides Standing Committee of the European Union has approved the inclusion of Lanxess' biocidal active ingredient dichlofluanid for wood preservatives in Annex I of the Biocidal Products Directive. The decision is a significant step in the future distribution of biocidal products, in this instance wood preservatives, which under the European Directive standards can only be used if the active ingredient is covered in Annex I. Other active ingredients produced by the German chemical company's Material Protection Products business are also under evaluation, including those for application in wood protection, as well as in other purposes that are subject to the Biocidal Products Directive, including disinfection, antifouling and industrial preservation. Lanxess has already filed or will file for European regulatory approval for these active ingredients. The Material Protection Products business, which forms part of the company's Performance Chemicals segment, generated sales of EUR 1977 M in 2005.


ChemieZine: May 2007

The European Biocides Directive states that a large number of chemical substances and their applications will have to be studied and approved, which will probably mean a ban on formaldehyde. This will create problems in the area of thanatopraxy and embalming, where formaldehyde is used, but this sector is energetically seeking an alternative and Hygeco has now come up with one.


Chemical Week:  May 2007

In a $3.1 M deal, Brazil's speciality chemicals company Adesol Produtos Quimicos has been acquired by Produquimica. Adesol's products include sugar cane alcohol products, anti-foaming agents, antibiotics, bleaches and biocides. The transaction will result in additional revenues of R$80 M over the next three years for Produquimica.


ICB Americas: May 2007

AS BIOCIDE producers cope with mixed demand, heightened regulatory measures and fluctuating raw material costs, they are at the same time moving to greener products and seeing growth in new applications. Biocides are used in a variety of applications including paints and coatings, oilfield processes, water treatment, plastics, wood treatment and more.

"The overall biocides market is only growing moderately," says Mike Sheehan, business manager in North America for Rohm and Haas Biocides. "As in many similar markets, growth opportunities are in share gain."

In the US, demand for biocides will grow 4.3% annually through 2010, according to Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based market research company. Gains will be driven by sustained production levels in key outlets and by heightened awareness of the dangers of bacterial growth and food-borne pathogens. "The demand for biocides in the United States is increasing, and we expect that trend to continue," says Oliver Kretschik, market manager for Lanxess. "Traditional chemistries are being replaced by new products."

Working with regulations

The Biocidal Products Directive (BPD), adopted in 1998, aims to ensure that all biocidal products on sale are safe when used properly and can be freely traded within the European Union (EU). Meeting the regulatory requirements for registration under the BPD has been no small task for producers, but most agree that it's a necessary process.

Biocidal regulations are affecting producers in a number of ways, says Niall D'Arcy, project manager at Biocide Information, Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. Regulations are restricting the usage of biocides that are produced and increasing the costs to support some biocides under new regulations. This will result in some biocides being withdrawn from some applications.

"We think BPD will actually have a positive effect on us as we are making the significant investment needed to register our products for BPD," says Rohm and Haas's Sheehan. "BPD will bring greater consistency among products sold in Europe, as well as raise the level of consumer confidence."

While the regulations are becoming more stringent, officials agree these changes will benefit the global biocide industry.

"Dow Biocides sees the increased regulation in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world as positive for the industry," says Mark Henning, general manager, Dow Biocides. "It is imperative that the use of biocides are regulated, and handled properly to gain the full benefit to society of these valuable compounds."

Last September, the European Commission launched a study to provide key findings and lessons learned from the implementation of Directive 98/8/EC on biocidal products, six years after its coming into force.

What the study may find is that biocide producers have put great effort into meeting the standards set forth in the directive and appreciate the need for regulation.

"Our colleagues in Europe have been working diligently to address all BPD requirements," says Udo Reigber, head of the Americas Material Protection Products division (MPP) of Lanxess. "Meeting the additional regulatory requirements is expensive and time-consuming, but these requirements will protect consumers, and in the long term will benefit all stake-holders -customers, product manufacturers, and the biocidal industry in general."

Challenges ahead

The regulatory climate may be the best known challenge for the biocide market today, but producers are also dealing with a variety of other issues as well.

Some of the biggest trends in the biocide market also include the desire for more environmentally friendly products and more cost-effective offerings, according to Dow Biocide officials. "The increasing regulations lead to the need for a more thorough characterization and understanding of the intrinsic properties of biocidal actives," says Nanette Hermsen, global marketing manager, Dow Biocides. "The data requirements have never been stricter, leading to the imminent phase-out of certain chemistries and a better understanding of the remaining chemistries."

Raw material price pressures are being felt in many areas of the chemical market and biocide producers can be lumped into the mix.

"We have experienced increased raw material costs over the last few years, especially due to bromine and iodine price increases," says Navnit Upadhyay, regional manager, Lanxess. Increasing regulations can put financial pressures on producers, but at the same time may also lead to new chemistries that enhance products and may even help cut costs.

"In today's world, it is a real challenge to maintain margin," says William Woods, manager of business development, industrial biocides, International Specialty Products (ISP). "Reformulation of products to lower-cost raw materials is one approach."

Growing new branches

Biocides are used in various sectors, but demand in the US is strongest for oilfield chemicals, and will continue to be, as long as oil prices remain high, says Dow Biocides' Hermsen. Although oilfield chemicals look to have the most potential at the moment, application needs are expanding.

"Another key trend in the market is the growing awareness and demand from the consumer for antimicrobial benefits and features," Hermsen says. "There is an explosion of products with mold-resistant properties and antimicrobial properties."

The use of biocides in plastics can be seen in various applications, such as in hospitals, schools, construction sites and kitchen items. Biocides help protect plastic from mold and other destructive bacteria. "Demand for antimicrobials in coatings and plastics remains strong," says ISP's Woods. "Growth should track the GNP [Gross National Product]."

The global consumption of biocides in plastics was $145m at active manufacture level in 2006, according a report from Research and Markets, a Dublin, Ireland-based international market research group.

"Currently, we see good demand in most industrial segments, such as plastics, metalworking, coatings, adhesive and sealants, water treatment, and in household and institutional markets," says Rohm and Haas's Sheehan. "Any producer that supplies to the B&C [building and construction] market in the US today would expect to see some slowdown in downstream products supplied to this market."

Join the revolution

In the world of the green revolution, little is left untouched. Biocide producers, along with the rest of the chemical industry, are working to make their products greener and promote their benefits and greener practices.

Lanxess recently launched its Benzisothiazolinone-based VOC-free (volatile organic compound-free) products. "We have low-VOC and VOC-free products sold under our brand names Biochek industrial preservative, Tektamer commercial microbiocide, and Metasol commercial fungicide/parasitic/biocide," says Lanxess" Reigber. "One of our chemistries is in the process of receiving FDA approval for a unique application."

ISP is also introducing greener industrial biocides. In particular, the company is focusing on lower-VOC products through reformulation away from organic solvents and co-solvents.

Producers are making more water-based formulations, according to the Waterford Institute's D'Arcy. Resources are also being invested in delivery devices to ease application of biocides.

Producing greener products is imperative, but considering the use of the products is also an important step in the process.

The first step to green biocides is to make sure all of the most environmentally friendly biocides are in the company portfolio, Dow Biocide officials explain. "The second step to green biocides is to reduce the use of biocides to the minimum level required for proper efficacy," says Rick Strittmatter, global research and development leader, Dow Biocides.

The third and final step in green biocides process is to ensure the proper handling and use of the biocides in all applications.

Replacing chlorine

Chlorine-based chemicals have been the disinfectants of choice for treating drinking water for nearly a century. But higher-value specialty products will continue to replace chlorine and other commodities in water treatment, according to a report from Freedonia.

"Chlorine continues to have a strong position in the marketplace," says Kevin Ajoku, market manager, Lanxess. "However, we have seen an influx of bromine and bromine-based products used as oxidizers, and an increase in organic biocides used as non-oxidizers. It remains to be seen if customers will continue to use higher value products or will revert to using chlorine as a low-cost oxidizer."

Niall D'Arcy, project manager at Biocide Information, Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland agrees that higher-value specialty products are replacing chlorine and other commodities in water treatment in the US and some European countries, but not in Asia and developing countries.


Wood News:  June 2007

US specialty chemicals producer KMG Chemicals reported on Monday a third-quarter operating income of  $6.1m (€4.5m), up 91% compared with the same time last year. Net sales were $28m, compared with $21m in the third quarter of 2006. Cost of sales were $17.7m, compared with $14.1m during the same time last year. Sales of penta, a wood preservative used in utility poles, rose 21% to $7.9m. Sales of creosote, a preservative for railroad ties, rose 26% to $11.3m.