The main theme of this issue is the current trend in solvents for surface coatings and printing inks manufacture. When the feature was first planned we had assumed that the results of increasing environmental concern, legislation such as the Health & Safety at Work Act, plus the dramatic rise in hydrocarbon costs, would indicate a significant swing away from hydrocarbon solvents and aromatics in particular. Now whilst this position may exist in the USA, Scandinavia and also West Germany to some extent, countries that have seen more rigorous legislation than in the UK, once we started making a few inquiries around the industry we were a little surprised to find that the demand for hydrocarbon solvents, including aromatics, is still constant in the UK. This is in spite of the fact that there is a steady, but still not highly significant, swing towards more use of water‐based and powder coatings.
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