25 June 2001 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]A scientific advisory panel has told the Consumer Product Safety Commission that the use of phthalate plasticizers in toys made from vinyl are not a risk to children, even though the additives have been linked to cancer and liver damage in laboratory animals. Page 4
Basell has confirmed that it will start to construct in October a 350,000-metric-ton-per-year HDPE plant at Wesseling, Germany, with the aim of bolstering its position in the pipe market.
Elenac, the Shell/BASF polyethylene joint venture which was recently merged with PP producers Targor and Montell to form Basell, revealed last year plans to build a new HDPE plant in Europe. Page 6
The European Chemical Industry Council decided at its annual meeting in Helsinki to give the go-ahead to a reorganization which will make it more issue-led and give it less of a traditional departmental structure. Page 6
Surfactant producers are reeling from the effects of rising feedstock and energy costs. Stronger crude oil pricing is making a bad situation worse and is adding to pressure on linear alkylbenzene margins. Surfactant earnings continue to decline. Page 9
The harnessing of new genomics technologies and the advance of an extraordinary number of unprecedented targets through clinical trials is expected to be associated with significant financial burdens. Page 12
Although somewhat adversely affected by the current economic downturn and dropping margins, the powder coatings industry is still growing at a healthy rate, with some producers even expanding. Page 14
Backed by steady demand in the personal care and detergent industries, the global fatty alcohols market is still relatively strong despite the economic downturn in the US and in other regions. The high energy and feedstock costs plaguing petrochemical production gave natural fatty alcohols producers a recent margin advantage over synthetic fatty alcohol producers. Page 18
Although the phosphoric acid supply and demand in North America is characterized as balanced, some producers call it a tight market due to the curtailment of elemental phosphorus production in the Western US. Page 21
"Reality-based programming" has reached the chemical industry's current implementation stage for Web-based projects. There is a general consensus that the challenges of onboarding, channel mix selection, outsourcing, return on investment (ROI) measurement and reaping supply chain benefits have eclipsed the earlier phase of hype and inflated expectations of e-business. Page 22
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