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Global disposable diapers shortage fears

EMCSEMCS Member Posts: 4,063
edited October 2012 in General Discussion
Global disposable diapers shortage fears
after factory explosion

The world could face a shortage of disposable nappies after an explosion and fire at a chemical plant in Japan responsible for as much as one fifth of the global market.

By Julian Ryall, Tokyo

2:59PM BST 30 Sep 2012

The blast, which killed a firefighter and injured 35 other emergency service workers, occurred after a fire caused by a chemical reaction broke out on Saturday afternoon at a plant operated by Nippon Shokubai Co. in the city of Himeji, close to Osaka in central Japan.

Nippon Shokubai controls the largest share of the world market for super-absorbent polymers, which is used in the production of nappies, and has been expanding its international sales network to keep up with demand.

According to the company, demand is so high that its production facilities have been required to operate at full capacity and it has announced plans to set up production facilities overseas. The company was particularly keen to meet growing demand for disposable nappies in China.

The water-absorbing polymers soak up an infant's waste through hydrogen bonding with water molecules. Generally, nappies that utilise the technology are able to absorb 50 times their own weight of liquid. If the operation of the factory is suspended for a long time, it could affect productio

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On average, a child in Britain gets through as many as 6,500 nappies in the first two-and-a-half-years of his or her life

16 billion disposable nappies are used every year in the US.


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