The slowdown seen in the US and chemical sector is bottoming out and growth is expected to remain slow in 2020 before improving in mid-2020 to 2021, depending partially on a trade agreement between the US and China, says the American Chemistry Council's chief economist Kevin Swift. The US shale boom continues to bode well for the chemical sector, but additional tariffs that are scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15 could disrupt supply chains further and create more uncertainty, the ACC says.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., has removed a provision from the chamber's 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would have narrowed the scope for regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in favor of a separate package focused on the substances. The measure will pass the House and Congressional negotiators hope to finish the 2020 NDAA, which will likely reflect the Senate's measure, by Monday.
The Environmental Protection Agency should work with manufacturers, processors and other stakeholders to "optimize the agency's approach to gathering better information about conditions of use and related exposure potential information," according to comments filed by the American Chemistry Council regarding the EPA's next 20 work plan substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The agency "could take greater advantage of the entire 9 to 12 month prioritization process timeframe to improve the information it receives," said the ACC.
The Environmental Protection Agency has revised its risk management program to eliminate proposed changes. "We commend the EPA for developing a rule that reflects the extensive feedback the agency received through a comprehensive and thoughtful process to seek public input," said the American Chemistry Council.
Steve Russell, vice president of the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division, unveiled plans to retire after ACC's Feb. 7 board meeting, and the council has begun the search for a successor. Russell brought "unparalleled" industry knowledge to the ACC and helped form the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, says President and CEO Chris Jahn.
Circulate Capital has closed the first funding round for its Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, raising $106 million from Dow Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Procter & Gamble and other companies to address marine plastic debris in South and Southeast Asia. "Supporting companies and infrastructure that are addressing plastic waste will catalyze the development of systems designed to advance a circular economy for plastics," said Dow's Bambang Candra.
Huntsman is acquiring Icynene-Lapolla, a spray foam business based in Texas, for $350 million. "As the demand for energy efficiency continues to grow, both in residential and commercial construction, this combination of companies will provide Huntsman with the largest global array of spray foam technology, integration of raw materials and associates," says CEO Peter Huntsman.
The success of crackers today depends on access to feedstocks, but that's changing as more nations adopt bans on single-use plastics, and trade becomes increasingly fractured, writes John Richardson. The maturation of chemical and mechanical recycling is expected to cut into the demand for new crackers and the US and China appear to be moving to permanently fractured trade zones, which means companies will have to build projects in local markets where they rely less on exports.
Atmospheric chemists are stepping up efforts to assess indoor air quality and identify the chemicals in indoor air, which could eventually help toxicologists and other health specialists to find out how these compounds affect human health. The composition of indoor air is influenced by many factors such as cooking, cleaning, ventilation and furnishings as well as the occupants of a house.
Employees at acquired companies are more likely to depart than people of similar profiles, according to research by Wharton management professor Daniel Kim. The findings suggest that companies need to do more research into potential retention issues before making an acquisition, Kim says.