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Plastics and polymers are among the most widespread inventions of the 20th century. They have become key materials, not just to build our homes and offices, but also to manufacture an increasing number of products that make our everyday lives more comfortable.
Many of these products need to be flexible and soft in order to withstand important physical stress without breaking, take on different shapes, feels and forms depending on their specific application. This is particularly true for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is often plasticised (softened) using plasticisers such as phthalates, adipates, trimellitates and citrates. 93% of all plasticisers produced in Europe are used in PVC applications.
Many everyday products such as electrical cables, luggage, sports equipment, footwear, tablecloths, stationery, roofing membranes, flooring, wallcovering and automotive applications, are made of flexible PVC. In addition, specific plasticsers, including phthalates, are used in other non-PVC applications such as coatings, rubber products. adhesives and sealants.
Specialty plasticisers find also their ways in cling films, closures, medical devices and toys.
The most common current applications for plasticisers include: