In 1998 the production
volume of dibutyl phthalate (hereafter referred to as
DBP) in the EU was estimated
at 26,000 tonnes, of which
8,000 tonnes was thought to be exported outside the EU. This
leads to a use volume of about 18,000 t/a. There is no import of
DBP from outside the EU. There is a clear decreasing trend in
the production of DBP: 49,000 t/a (1994) – 37,000 t/a (1997) –
26,000 t/a (1998). The production (>1,000 tonnes) of DBP
in 1998 was located at three production sites in the EU.
DBP is produced by the
reaction of phthalic anhydride with n-butanol in the presence of
concentrated sulphuric acid as a catalyst. Excess alcohol is
recovered and recycled and the di-n-butyl phthalate is purified
by vacuum distillation and/or activated charcoal.
The largest usage of DBP
in general is as a plasticizers in resins and
polymers such as polyvinyl
chloride. Plasticizers are materials incorporated into a plastic
in order to increase its workability and distendability. DBP is
further used in printing inks, adhesives, sealants/grouting
agents, nitrocellulose paints, film coatings and glass fibres.
The ubiquity of DBP in consumer products is demonstrated by its
wide usage in cosmetics: a perfume solvent and fixative, a
suspension agent for solids in
aerosols, a lubricant for
aerosol valves, an
antifoamer, a skin emollient and a plasticizer in nail polish
and fingernail elongators.
Based on 1997 data, on average around 76% of
DBP is used as a plasticizer
in polymers, 14% in
adhesives, 7% in printing inks and the remaining 3% of DBP is
used in miscellaneous other applications.