Cleveland, Ohio - US demand for flame retardants used in polyurethanes is projected to grow by 3.2 percent a year to 140 million pounds (63.5 kilotonnes) in 2011, valued at $170 million, according to a new study by The Freedonia Group Inc. Total US demand for flame retardants will rise 3.0 percent per year to 1150 million pounds in 2011, the market research group adds. Plastic resins account for over three-quarters of total FR demand in 2006, the group said. In polyurethanes, dominant uses are in flexible, rigid and semi-rigid foam products, widely used as cushioning in bedding and furniture. Other major uses lie in insulation for refrigerators, coolers and freezers; and building and automotive insulation. Freedonia says that advances will be driven by strong demand for flame-retardant PU foam insulation, "boosted by robust nonresidential construction activity." Growing demand for flexible PU foam in mattresses and bedding, and the new flammability standards coming along for upholstered furniture, will also fuel increases for flame retardants. But the group points out that, "gains will be restrained by weakness in the residential construction sector, as well as market maturity in applications such as motor vehicle seating and insulation."In PU, phosphorus FR compounds dominate, accounting for 60 percent of demand in 2006, said Freedonia. Most of these are halogenated and more specifically chlorinated. Specific examples are trisphosphates such as tris (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate, tris (1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate and tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate.Non-halogenated phosphate esters are also used in PU foam. Freedonia lists other flame retardants for polyurethane as alumina trihydrate, brominated compounds (generally reactive types), chlorinated products and antimony trioxide. Production of PentaBDE, once a common FR in flexible PU foams forfurniture and motor vehicle applications, was voluntarily phased out by Great Lakes Chemical Co. (now Chemtura) in 2004. Its replacement is Firemaster 550, is a phosphorus-bromine blend product, considered to be a phosphorus flame retardant for the purposes of Freedonia's study.Although the pentaBDE phase-out caused a significant drop in demand for brominated flame retardants in PU from 2001-2006, the transition was nearly complete by 2006, and Freedonia foresees "little future impact through the forecast period."But Freedonia points out that some manufacturers are now importing pentaBDE from China, as the US ban only applies to domestic production of the chemical. Nevertheless, several US states have recently banned the sale of any product containing pentaBDE, and, if this type of regulation becomes more widespread, there may be a further reduction in demand for brominated flame retardants in polyurethane.Rising use of FRs generally will be driven by "increasingly stringent fire codes and flammability requirements, especially in building materials and consumer products," according to Freedonia. These and other trends are presented in Freedonia's new 209-page study, Flame Retardants, which costs $4400. For more information, contact Corinne Gangloff, tel +1 440 684 9600, fax + 1 440 646.0484, e-mail [email protected] See also www.freedoniagroup.com"