New Study Reveals that Sweat may Leach Flame-retardant Chemicals from Microplastics

New Study Reveals that Sweat may Leach Flame-retardant Chemicals from Microplastics

A new study at the University of Birmingham shows human sweat has been found to leach toxic chemicals out of microplastics and are potentially making them available to be absorbed through skin, said Specialchem.

The team looked at microplastics taken from common forms of plastic and tested them with a synthetic sweat in a lab. They analyzed the bio accessibility of brominated flame retardants (a class of chemical used to improve the performance of plastics) after microplastics have come into contact with sweat.

These found that in all examples, the toxic chemicals leached out of the plastic particles and as a result, these chemicals may be absorbed through layers of skin.

The paper, published in Environmental Science and Technology found that polyethylene microplastics were the worst for bio accessibility of the flame-retardant chemicals which have been previously found in animal studies to cause adverse health effects including neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity and cancer.

Dr Ovokeroye Abafe, Marie-Curie Research fellow at the University of Birmingham and first author of the paper said, “The study provides new insights into the risk that arises from our exposure to microplastics in daily life. Our skin is constantly exposed to microplastics either through our clothing, cosmetics, indoor and outdoor dust particles, or even from the air.”

“We have shown the first experimental evidence that toxic additive chemicals can leach out from microplastics to our sweat and become available for absorption through the skin. This raises concern over potential adverse effects of these chemicals, including endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, obesity, and cancer”, Dr Abafe concluded.

We remind, LANXESS has doubled its production capacity for benzyl alcohol at its site in Kalama, WA, US, to support the growth of its established customer base in the Americas. The capacity expansion is the result of various technical upgrades. LANXESS also produces benzyl alcohol at its sites in Krefeld-Uerdingen (Germany), Botlek (Netherlands), and Nagda (India).

INEOS and SINOPEC sign second Joint Venture to produce ABS in China

INEOS and SINOPEC sign second Joint Venture to produce ABS in China

MOSCOW (MRC) -- On the 30th August, INEOS and SINOPEC signed a shareholder agreement for the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to build a new 300ktpa ABS plant in Tianjin, said the company.

The plant, which is currently under construction by SINOPEC, will be based on INEOS’ world-leading Terluran® ABS technology and is planned to come on stream in April 2025.

This is the second of three new-build ABS plants announced by both companies last year, each to be managed as a joint venture between INEOS Styrolution and SINOPEC. The first was the 600ktpa facility in Ningbo, which is planned to come on stream by the end of this year. The location of the third ABS plant is yet to be decided.

This announcement marks the continued progression of the significant petrochemical deals announced by the parties in July and December last year, and highlights the close relationship and growing collaboration between SINOPEC and INEOS.

We remind, INEOS has completed the formation of a 50/50 joint venture with SINOPEC for the Tianjin Nangang Ethylene Project, announced in December 2022, which is currently under construction by SINOPEC and expected to be on-stream by April 2024. The petrochemical complex includes a 1.2 mtpa cracker, a new 500ktpa High-Density Polyethylene plant to produce INEOS pipe grade under license and 11 other derivative units.

Saudi Arabia extends voluntary oil output cut of 1 MM bpd to end in 2023

Saudi Arabia extends voluntary oil output cut of 1 MM bpd to end in 2023

Saudi Arabia will extend its voluntary oil output cut of 1 million bpd for another three months until the end of December 2023, as per Reuters.

Oil prices rose sharply following the news of the Saudi cut extension, with Brent prices rising above $90 a barrel for the first time since Nov. 18.

The voluntary cut decision will be reviewed monthly to consider deepening the cut or increasing production depending on market conditions, SPA said, citing a Saudi energy ministry official.

The Saudi voluntary cut is on top of a previous production cut agreed by several producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with Russia and other allies known as OPEC+, in April that extends to the end of 2024.

Russia on Tuesday also extended its voluntary decision to reduce its oil exports by 300,000 bpd to the end of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement on Tuesday. Moscow will also review the voluntary reduction monthly and may deepen it or raise it, Novak said.

LyondellBasell starts union consultation with the intent to close one of two production units in Brindisi, Italy

LyondellBasell starts union consultation with the intent to close one of two production units in Brindisi, Italy

LyondellBasell started consultations with territorial trade unions for the management of potential redundancies in relation to the intended closure of the one of its two polypropylene production units at its Brindisi location in Italy, said the company.

"After thorough analysis, we believe that closure of this unit is the most sustainable solution from a strategic and financial standpoint,” said Jim Guilfoyle, senior vice president Olefins and Polyolefins EAMEI of LyondellBasell. “We understand the intended closure may impact some of our employees. We are committed to discuss solutions with unions and social parties to support them in the best way possible. The supply to our customers will continue.”

Guilfoyle added, “This unit is the oldest of its kind in the world and it has become uncompetitive. The market environment for our polypropylene products of this Brindisi unit has become increasingly challenging, and the outlook provides little improvement. The intention of our group is to strengthen the position of the company's other assets in higher value markets.”

LyondellBasell’s Brindisi, Italy site produces materials for the production of textiles, food packaging, and other applications.

We remind, LyondellBasell announced that Jiangsu Fenghai High-Tech Materials Co., Ltd. (Jiangsu Fenghai) has selected the LyondellBasell Lupotech T high-pressure polyethylene technology for a new production site. The Lupotech T process technology will be used for a 200 kiloton per year (KTA) vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA) line. The new line will be located in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, P.R. of China.

Berry Global Announces Yet More Plant Closures

Berry Global Announces Yet More Plant Closures

Berry Global CEO Tom Salmon announced during the company’s Q3 earnings webcast this week that the packaging giant would be shutting down 20 facilities, said Plasticstoday.

That’s five more than were mentioned in the Q2 earnings call in May. The company is not revealing the plant locations at the present time. When PlasticsToday asked Berry Global about that, Marketing Communications Manager Amy Waterman responded that the company is unable to release the list of facilities, adding that “our divisions continually review our overall manufacturing footprint to ensure efficient service to our customers.”

Writing for Powder & Bulk Solids, Kristen Kazarian did note that one recent closure happened in Scotland. Berry BPI, a division of Berry Global, announced that its plant in Greenrock, Renfrewshire, shut down as a result of a reduction in demand from customers in the healthcare, construction, and industrial packaging markets, as reported by Scottish media outlet The National.

During the Q3 earnings call, Salmon said, “We’re going to be in a position in 2024 where we see growth in the general market environments improve, and we’re going to benefit from having executed against 20 facilities that have been shut down... it's exciting going forward with an optimized footprint and lower cost structure that will benefit the bottom line, as well."

Salmon, incidentally, will retire from the company effective Dec. 31, 2023. Kazarian notes in her article that the Berry Global website has already changed the number of facilities from “300 plants around the world” to “more than 265 plants.” The math is a bit squishy, but that comes out to a reduction of around 30 facilities.

We remind, China has issued 15 MMt of oil products export quotas to companies in its third batch for 2023, according to three trading sources and two domestic consultancies. The volume consists of 12 million tons of refined products quotas, made up of kerosene, diesel and gasoline exports, and 3 million tons of marine fuel.