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Tin PVC Stabilisers

Posted by: Paul Cusack
26th Aug 2011
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Tin PVC Stabilisers

PVCOrganotin compounds are highly effective heat stabilisers for PVC and find use in a wide range of rigid and flexible PVC applications. Organotin compounds currently account for around 15% of the PVC stabiliser market by volume, this equating to 85,000 tonnes per annum of compounds or ca. 15,000 tonnes of tin metal (by far the largest market for tin chemicals and around 5% of total tin consumption).

Although certain stabiliser types (particularly methyltins and octyltins) exhibit generally low toxicity and have widespread approval for use in food contact applications, butyltin stabilisers are coming under considerable pressure in the EU and elsewhere, because of their classification as Category 2 substances under the Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic to Reproduction (CMR) system. It is conceivable that butyltin stabilisers will not be registered within REACH by producers and will therefore no longer be available in the EU.

It has been suggested that in many cases the butyltin systems will be replaced by safer methyltin or octyltin analogues (thereby maintaining the general technical benefits afforded by organotins – good compatibility and dispersion, excellent clarity and colour control, and good resistance to UV light and weathering), although the current high tin price has also led to suggestions that cheaper non-tin alternatives, especially calcium – zinc systems, may gain market share at the expense of organotins generally.

The PVC stabiliser producers themselves are of the opinion that overall consumption of organotin compounds in this market will decline significantly in the next 3 – 5 years, although it is likely that moderate growth will be seen in certain regions, particularly China, because of growth in PVC demand.