Sodium fluoride is an inorganic salt of sodium and fluorine. It is a colorless crystalline solid. It is manufactured commercially by neutralizing hexafluorosilicic acid or hydrofluoric acid. Sodium fluoride salt is usually employed as a source of fluoride ions for various applications such as in toothpastes and other dental care products, water treatment, preservative applications, chemicals manufacturing, and metallurgy among others. Sodium fluoride is toxic inorganic chemical due to its fluoride content and may cause fluoride poisoning in case of over dosage. Some of the common ailments include general weakness, stomach pain, irritation, vomiting, appetite loss, nausea, ulcers, cardiac arrhythmia, hypocalcemia, nervous system disorders, dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. In rare cases, it may lead to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
Sodium fluoride is primarily used as the basic ingredient in toothpastes and dental care products. It is used as an anticoagulant in industrial as well as municipal waste water treatment. It is also used as a reagent in the manufacturing of fluorocarbons in addition to a variety of chemicals. It is widely used for synthesis and extraction of several metals and metal products in the metallurgy industry. The sodium fluoride market is driven by its demand in water treatment applications and personal care products, especially toothpaste and dental care applications. However, rising awareness about the harmful effects of fluoride poisoning among the general population is the major restraint for the sodium fluoride market. New pharmaceutical application in the medical imaging application of fluoride-18 labeled sodium fluoride in positron emission tomography (PET) could be a prospective market opportunity for further demand growth.
Sodium fluoride is a widely used reagent due to its reactivity. It is extensively used as a pickling agent or a preservative in controlled amount as it is poison to the bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that might cause staling of food. In the metallurgy industry it is extensively used as a reagent for extraction and synthesis of a wide variety of metals and alloys. It used in wood preservative coatings such as varnishes. In water treatment applications sodium fluoride is commonly used as an anticoagulant owing to its dissociative characteristics. It dissociates into sodium and fluoride ions that are highly reactive and breakdown coagulating substances into filterable substances. The water treatment chemicals industry is witnessing a rapid rise in demand due to regulatory pressure for better treatment of industrial as well as municipal waste water released into the water bodies. Growing awareness among the general public and the protests against the harmful effects, of industrial and municipal waste water contaminated with human wastes, on the environment has lead to strict regulations governing the release of treated wastewater. This in turn, has supported the growth of waste water treatment chemicals including sodium fluoride.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is the largest consumer of sodium fluoride riding on high sales of toothpastes and dental care products to its large population. Major industrial economies including China, India, Japan and South Korea are the major consumers of sodium fluoride for application in waste water treatment, metallurgy and chemical industry. Two of the most populated countries, China and India are situated in Asia. Both these countries are growing rapidly and witnessing rising disposable income and purchase power parity of the general population. North America is another major consumer for sodium fluoride especially in the dental care and waste water treatment applications. In Rest of the World, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa contribute to major demand for the market. Europe is expected to witness comparatively slower growth than other regions.
Some of the market players include Merck Millipore, Solvay, Baker, Orica Watercare and Shanghai Polymet Commodities Ltd., among many others.
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