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FR Market

Every year in the European Union over 4,000 people die in fires and a further 80,000 are injured. In the USA a further 4,000 people also die in fires annually and over 260,000 are injured. The total loss caused by fires in the USA alone is approx. 200 billion Euro (250 billion US-$), which is the equivalent of approx. 2% of the country s GDP. Such figures highlight the significance of flame retardants for the protection of lives and property. The annual consumption of flame retardants is currently over 1.5 million tonnes, which is the equivalent of a sales volume of approx. 1.9 billion Euro (2.4 billion US-$).

The introduction of new fire safety standards and laws has been an important influential factor on the flame retardant market. These standards and laws will result in a further growth phase in the market and will influence the various application areas such as the plastic, textile, coating, wood and electronic industries. Due to the tightening of laws in this area, the flame retardant characteristics of thousands of products like electronic equipment, plastics, textiles and construction materials must be improved or manufacturers must change over to environmentally friendly types of flame retardants. Therefore the market shares of certain halogenated flame retardants on a bromine and chlorine basis will decrease due to the environmental and health problems associated with them.

In addition to stricter fire safety standards, various regulations, voluntary commitments from industry and numerous eco-labels have been introduced in the past few years. This has lead to a greater demand for flame retardants and has also placed new demands on the flame retardants themselves. Discussions and studies about the environmental impact of various flame retardants are responsible for many changes in the flame retardant market and have lead to stricter laws and prohibitions regarding certain flame retardants. Recently, for example the RoHS and WEEE Directives in the EU have resulted in a ban on some brominated flame retardants. The future REACH regulations and new scientific research may also restrict the use of further flame retardants. In order to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the flame retardant market, not only the current legal situation but also future developments and their consequences are of great relevance. Therefore both manufacturers and users of flame retardants must change over to environmentally friendlier products in due time, without however influencing technical characteristics or increasing costs.

The total flame retardant market will continue to increase with annual growth rates of 5%, which is due in part to the fact that the use of plastics in the past few years has increased significantly. Flame retardants are also of increasing importance due to the increasing miniaturisation of electronic and electrical equipment and the heat concentration and therefore fire threat, which is associated with this miniaturisation.

The growth regions in the Far East also influence the flame retardant market. For example the plastic and textile industries have already partially relocated their production to China and demand for preliminary products such as flame retardants is increasing in these areas. Due to the robust global economic growth and in particular the increasing prosperity of the Asian region, demand for consumer products such as clothing and electrical goods and also construction materials will continue, which will result in higher growth rates for the global flame retardant market.