Dibutyl phthalate is an oily, sparingly water-soluble liquid with a high boiling point of 350 ºC. In 1962, scientists at Monsanto Company reported the preparation of dibutyl phthalate from n-butyl chloride and phthalic acid. In recent years, the manufacturing method of dibutyl phthalate was changed to the reaction of n-butyl alcohol with phthalic anhydride in the presence of a concentrated sulfuric acid catalyst. Dibutyl phthalate is recovered and purified through a bed of activated charcoal or with the use of vacuum distillation. Dibutyl phthalate is used as plasticizer during the manufacture of most plastics products. Phthalates are a varied group of materials, which make plastic additionally flexible. Nearly 5.5 billion tons of dibutyl phthalate is manufactured every year globally. Dibutyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate are lower molecular weight phthalates. Dibutyl phthalate is used in pesticides, personal care products, paints & glues, toys, detergents, vinyl flooring, lubricating oils, wall coverings, food packaging, and blood bags & tubing. It is also employed in controlled-release pharmaceuticals.

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Dibutyl Phthalate Market: Drivers and Restraints

Changing lifestyle of people, rise in usage of personal care products, and increase in penetration of FMCG products are some of the factors driving the demand for personal care products, especially in Asia Pacific. Demand for dibutyl phthalate is expected to rise in consumer and personal care products. It is extensively used in numerous consumer products, hence, their safety has extensively been reviewed and researched. Dibutyl phthalate carries certain adverse effects during long-term exposure. The safety issues are expected to hamper the market growth of dibutyl phthalate. The product was manufactured in the U.S. by Eastman Chemical Company. However, in March 2011 the company declared that it would end the production of dibutyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate. It exited these markets in December 2011. Constant research & development activities indicate that di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) are antiandrogenic. These phthalates adversely affect the reproductive system. 

Dibutyl Phthalate Market: Segmentation

Based on application, the dibutyl phthalate market can be segmented into:

  • Personal care products
  • Chemical intermediates
  • Laboratory chemicals
  • Plasticizers
  • Others (paints, floor & wall coverings, etc.)

Dibutyl phthalate is an ingredient commonly found in various personal care products such as hair sprays and cosmetics. It is primarily used in order to make plastics more flexible and soft. Dibutyl phthalate is generally employed in raincoats, shower curtains, bowls, food wraps, car interiors, floor tiles, vinyl fabrics, etc. It is commonly added to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as a plasticizer to improve its material characteristics. When added to polyvinyl chloride, dibutyl phthalate does not polymerize and allows polyvinyl chloride molecules to slip besides one another without tangling. The ability of dibutyl phthalate to prevent the polymers from getting entangled increases the elasticity of polyvinyl chloride. This property makes dibutyl phthalate suitable for usage in numerous applications. Raincoats and vinyl fabrics are some of the examples of the usage of dibutyl phthalate to increase the elasticity of polyvinyl chloride. Dibutyl phthalate is composed of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. Thus, it is ideal for combustion reactions. Dibutyl phthalate readily makes molecules withstand the combustion reaction at raised temperatures. Therefore, it is used as stabilizer in solid rocket propellants.         

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Dibutyl Phthalate Market: Region-wise Outlook

Based on geography, the global dibutyl phthalate market can be segregated into North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is anticipated to be a relatively attractive region for the dibutyl phthalate market during the forecast period. Stringent government regulations are in place on the usage of phthalates in North America and Europe due to their side effects. The European Commission recognizes dibutyl phthalate as reproductive toxicant, while the European Union prohibits its usage as an ingredient in cosmetics. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to add dibutyl phthalate and di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate to the list of chemicals of concern under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA has included dibutyl phthalate and di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in the Toxics Release Inventory list (EPA 2009). 

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