Iodine has recently found tremendous importance in the global market with a wide array of applications. Numerous governments have taken steps to push the use of iodine in many healthcare applications, resulting in a staggering growth in demand. Estimations put the value of the global iodine market at US$1.68 bn by the end of 2024. Since iodine is used in numerous industrial, commercial, and healthcare applications, the iodine market is indirectly affecting the GDP of several countries.
Massive Demand for Iodine from Various Industries
Being an easily available element, iodine has been incorporated by many industries in the form of iodine compounds. Silver iodide is by far the most widely used compound by volume. It is used as a light-sensitive substance in photographic films, which when exposed to light, react to form black silver atoms, thus forming an image. Silver iodide is also used to modify weather conditions by meteorologists. In 2015, Asia Pacific received less-than-average rainfall due to the El Nino effect in the Pacific Ocean. Meteorologists performed cloud seeding to increase water condensation and precipitation to bring rain to the region.
Methyl iodide is another compound that is used as a pesticide in the fumigation of farms before sowing. Methyl iodide has replaced methyl bromide in this application as the latter is known to be harmful to the ozone layer. Although scientists have recently claimed that methyl iodide has carcinogenic properties, tests are underway to confirm this claim. Until then, there continues to be a heavy boom in the global iodine market. Another major industrial application of iodine is that of a radioactivity tracer, wherein it is used in x-rays, ultrasound, and nuclear imaging scans.
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Healthcare Application Creating Major Upsurge in Demand for Iodine
Iodine has been proven to be an essential part of human lives. The lack of iodine content in the body results in various thyroid disorders such as goiter and hypothyroidism. Many public and private organizations such as WHO have been pushing the use of iodine in food through the consumption of table salt in order to meet the required iodine content in the body. This is a major undertaking in the APAC and MEA regions, especially Africa. Other medical conditions arising from the inadequate percentage of iodine in the body include low metabolism, low quality breast milk leading to deficiency among children as well, and ovarian cysts and low reproductive capabilities.
Several medications also incorporate the use of iodine in small doses to treat deficiency-related problems. Iodophors, an iodine compound, is used as a disinfectant and sanitizer. Iodine is also used as a sterilizing agent in hospitals. Due to its purifying ability, iodine is also used in water purifying tablets. These applications have boosted the global iodine market, propelling it to rise at a CAGR of 9.0% for the forecast period of 2016 to 2024.
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Major global iodine market players include SQM, Quingdao Brightmoon Seaweed Group Co. Ltd., Iofina Chemical Inc., Algorta Norte S.A, IOCHEM Corporation, and ISR Holding.