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Published: February 2012
Chlorinated isocyanurates are chlorine-containing derivatives of isocyanuric acid and are used as sanitizing, disinfecting and bleaching agents. Major end-use applications are in swimming pool sanitizers, automatic dishwashing machine detergents, bleaches and scouring cleaners. The three commercially useful chlorinated isocyanurates are trichloroisocyanuric acid (TCCA) and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (anhydrous and dihydrate) (SDCC). TCCA has limited solubility in water and is used mainly as a controlled-release sanitizer for swimming pools. SDCCs are much more soluble and are used mainly as primary sanitizers and shock treatments for swimming pools and as bleaching agents and stain removers in powdered dishwasher detergent formulations. Production of TCCA dominates, accounting for about two-thirds of the total.
The global supply/demand situation started changing in 2002 when China began exporting sizable quantities of chlorinated isocyanurates. Starting in 2005, antidumping duties were imposed in the United States against Chinese and Spanish exporters, but imports continued to rise through 2011. In 2011, most Chinese exports went to Europe and North America. The European Union also imposed duties on imports of TCAA starting in 2005.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of chlorinated isocyanurates:
Swimming pool sanitation is the largest market for chlorinated isocyanurates in the United States and Western Europe. Use is highly seasonal and growth depends strongly on pool construction and weather conditions. In the United States, the market usually grows 2–6% per year.
In 2011, about 75% of the chlorinated isocyanurates produced in Japan were exported, mainly to the United States and Western Europe. Use of chlorinated isocyanurates for swimming pools in Japan is small since there are very few private pools. Use in school pools has declined somewhat because of lower pool usage and less-stringent requirements for users to sanitize themselves prior to use. Large municipal pools generally use liquid sodium hypochlorite. Consumption of chlorinated isocyanurates as sanitizers for homeowner septic tanks is the largest market in Japan, accounting for 65–70% of total use. Use of chlorinated isocyanurates will likely grow with the increased use of dual-treatment septic tanks, but this will be largely offset by the greater amounts of household effluent treated in public sewage systems. Total Japanese consumption of chlorinated isocyanurates is forecast to decrease slightly.
There are approximately 22 producers of chlorinated isocyanurates in China. However, only about 42% of the total capacity is capable of producing the high-quality product demanded by the U.S. and Western European markets. The Chinese market for swimming pool products is not very large; therefore, almost all producers are export-oriented. The Chinese have increased exports of lower-quality product to Africa and other developing nations for drinking water disinfection.
The global market for chlorinated isocyanurates is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of almost 3.5%.