04 July 2011 17:17 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Sales of methylene chloride (MEC) in Europe increased by 13% in 2010 compared with the previous year, according to data released by the European Chlorinated Solvent Association (ECSA) on Monday.
Sales climbed to 113,000 tonnes compared to 100,000 tonnes in 2009 as a result of the global economic recovery and increasing demand from the downstream pharmaceutical and coating industries.
However, EU-wide restrictions on the marketing and use of MEC in paint stripping, one of its main downstream markets, could put a ceiling on this upwards trend.
The new law, effective on 6 December 2010, established that paint strippers containing MEC at a concentration equal to or greater than 0.1% can no longer be placed on the market for supply to the general public or to professionals.
Its use will be prohibited from 6 June 2012, although EU members have the option to permit the supply and use by specifically-trained professionals of paint strippers exceeding the 0.1 % limit for certain activities within their territory.
European sales of perchloroethylene, another chlorinated solvent used as a chemical intermediate for dry-cleaning and textile processing, have stabilised at 44,000 tonnes after a major drop in sales in 2008.
This product continues to gain market share as a substitute for trichloroethylene in vapour degreasing in metal-cleaning operations.
It is also used to make other chemicals, including CFCs, rubber coatings, as an insulating fluid and cooling gas in electrical transformers.
However, it has been phased out as an ingredient in consumer products, including typewriter correction fluid, adhesives, spot removers, wood cleaners, and shoe polish.
($1 = €0.69)
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