Diaper Shortage Feared After Plant Explosion In Japan

A diaper shortage is feared to be on the way after an explosion at a Japanese chemical plant that crippled production of one of the elements of disposable diapers.

An explosion at a plant in the coastal city of Himeji has impacted the production of acrylic acid, an important part of disposable diapers, ABC News reported. The plant, operated by Nippon Shokubai Co., is one of the world’s largest producers of acrylic acid and was rocked by powerful blasts on Saturday.

The acrylic acid is used to make superabsorbent polymers or SAP, the part of the diaper that absorbs liquid. Close to 20 percent of all the SAP in the world comes from Nippon Shokubai, and the company has a 10 percent global market share of acrylic acid.

Making the diaper shortage even more imminent is the fact that the Japanese plant has been ramping up production of SAP to meet a growing global demand, especially from China, ABC News reported.

Before the explosion, the plan produced 460,000 tons of acrylic acid each year, selling it to clients like Procter and Gamble. The company has reached out to other producers to be sure the clients’ needs are met and try to head off the possible diaper shortage, ABC News reported.

Operations at the Japanese plant are expected to be halted for a long time, Fox Business News reported. Prospects of a diaper shortage could be even more likely given that other makers of SAP resins are already working at full-production, the report stated, leaving little room for back-up production.

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