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The global demand for silicones approached US$12.5 billion in 2008, approximately 4% up from the previous year. It continues similar growth in the following years to reach $13.5 billion by 2010. The annual growth is expected to be boosted by broader applications, introduction of novel products and increasing awareness of using more environmentally friendly materials.

 

The leading global manufacturers of silicone base materials belong to three regional organizations: the European Silicone Center (CES) in Brussels, Belgium; the Environment Health and Safety Council (SEHSC) in Herndon, Virginia, USA; and the Silicone Industry Association of Japan (SIAJ) in Tokyo, Japan. Dow Corning Silicones, Evonik Industries, Momentive Performance Materials, Milliken and Company (SiVance Specialty Silicones), Shin-Etsu Silicones, Wacker Chemie, Bluestar Silicones, JNC Corporation, Wacker Asahikasei Silicone, and Dow Corning Toray represent the collective membership of these organizations. A fourth organization, the Global Silicone Council (GSC) acts as an umbrella structure over the regional organizations. All four are non-profit, having no commercial role; their primary missions are to promote the safety of silicones from a health, safety, and environmental perspective. As the European chemical industry is preparing to implement the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) legislation, CES is leading the formation of a consortium of silicones, silanes, and siloxanes producers and importers to facilitate data and cost sharing.

 

Safety and environmental considerations

No "marked harmful effects on organisms in the environment" have been noted for silicones. Because they are widely used, they are pervasive.They biodegrade readily, a process that is accelerated by a variety of catalysts, including clays.[1] Cyclic silicones have been shown to involve the occurrence of silanols during biodegration in mammals.

 

Around 200 °C in oxygen-containing atmosphere, PDMS releases traces of formaldehyde but less than other common materials such as polyethylene.,and by 200 °C (392 °F) Silicones (< 3 µg CH2O/(g·hr) for a high consistency silicone rubber to 48 µg CH2O/(g·hr)) were found to be superior to mineral oil and plastics (~400 µg CH2O/(g·hr)) at about 200 °C (392 °F), by 250 °C (482 °F) copious amounts of formaldehyde have been found to be produced for all silicones (1200 µg CH2O/(g·hr) to 4600 µg CH2O/(g·hr)).

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