Cadmium pigments are a class of pigments containing the heavy metal cadmium as one of the chemical components. Pigments are the second largest application of cadmium after its use in batteries. Cadmium based pigments are used in plastics, glasses, ceramics, enamels and painting colors. Apart from these cadmium pigments are used to protect metals such as iron steel, aluminum, and titanium from corrosion. Cadmium pigments are inorganic coloring agents and can be manufactured in a wide range of vibrant colors such as yellow, orange, maroon and red. Slight modification in the chemical composition can induce many bright colors. Cadmium pigments have certain favorable properties such as corrosion resistance, low melting point, good electrical conduction, and resistance to high temperature and chemicals, which augur well for the cadmium pigments market.
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The major application of cadmium pigments are in plastics, as almost 75% of the cadmium pigments are applied in this sector. The pigment disperses easily in many polymers and provide superior coloring, tinting strength and high opacity. The color fastness of cadmium pigments in polymers is excellent and often last a lifetime. Application in advanced complex polymers is the latest trend for cadmium pigments. Complex polymers such as nylon, high density polyethylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), silicone resins, polycarbonates, and other thermoplastic polymers extensive use cadmium pigments as they are processed at very high temperatures which rules out the application of organic pigments and most of the substitute inorganic pigments. The range of color hues provided by cadmium pigments is vast and is rarely matched by other inorganic pigments. Telephones, gas pipes, automotive radiator fans, beverage crates are few products which are manufactured from engineering polymers such as ABS, and the color is derived from cadmium pigments.
Cadmium pigments are also find extensive application in industrial paints. Due to its chemical inertness and high temperature resistance it is applied in steam pipes and chemical containers. They are also incorporated in acrylic and latex coatings. There are no substantial alternative for cadmium pigments as its, physical and chemical properties are rarely imitated by other inorganic pigments. The lack of suitable alternative acts as a major driver for the cadmium pigment market.
Cadmium pigments pose health concerns in people exposed to its environment. Kidney and lungs are the organs which are mainly affected by prolonged exposure to cadmium pigments. Cadmium is a non-essential element for human beings and proper disposal of cadmium pigments is of prime importance. Most of the cadmium is absorbed into the body through food, and disposal of cadmium compounds in soil or water pollutes the environment and turns up in the food chain. Cadmium pigments have been banned for all plastics in the European Union in 2011. This development is a restraint for the cadmium pigment market in Europe. Most of the countries discourage extensive use of cadmium pigments owing to its inherent environmental concerns. However the cadmium pigment market is expected to be steady in the foreseeable future owing to the lack of safer alternatives to the applications it satisfy.
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Asia Pacific region accounts for the highest demand for cadmium pigments and the trend is expected to continue. The demand from North America is steady, with low growth, while the demand from Europe is on the decline since the government regulations regarding ban on cadmium products.
Some of the major companies involved in the manufacturing of cadmium pigments are JMB Ltd., Rockwood Pigments NA, Inc., and Hunan Jufa Technology Co., Ltd among many others.
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