• Jason.Huang@shouyaotrading.com


Sodium tripolyphosphate: Information everyone should know before purchasing

Sodium tripolyphosphate: Information everyone should know before purchasing

SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE or STPP is one of the inorganic compounds that all use. It is commonly used as the polyphosphate sodium salt, which is the conjugate triphosphoric acid-base. A stoichiometric mixture makes it by heating disodium phosphate and monosodium phosphate. The process is done under controlled conditions very carefully.

The sodium tripolyphosphate suppliers sell this chemical usually as a white, solid powder. This inorganic compound does not produce any odor, but it leaves a slightly alkaline taste when ingested. It is firm in the air and also highly soluble in water. Sodium tripolyphosphate is usually referred to as STPP; this is how it appears on most labels. It is not non-flammable and very toxic. One of the primary uses for STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) is a water softener in different detergent types. It helps to ensure that they work well in hard water. Another primary use for this chemical is to preserve several food products, for example, seafood, animal feeds, and poultry. The STPP inorganic chemical acts as an emulsifier and maintains moisture in the preserved food like meat. STPP is regarded as a safe compound (GRAS) by the FDA. Since this white chemical is stable and just a little toxic, it does not require any additional care or attention. It must be stored in a cool space, dry area, and kept sealed correctly to not interact in the air with anything. Moreover, it creates mild irritation of the skin or eyes, and if ingested in large quantities, it is very harmful.

The demand for sodium tripolyphosphate:

The demand for this inorganic compound is very high. To see the importance of this chemical, the need for two years is discussed below. See how much sodium tripolyphosphate suppliers have demand in 2005 and 2006; the Source of information is ICIS Chemical Business USITC.

  • 2005: 277,000 tons
  • 2006: 280,000 tons
  • 2010: 285,000 tons.

Demand equals production:

  • More imports (2005 YEAR: 142,000 tons 2006 YEAR: 142,000 tons),
  • Fewer exports (2005 YEAR: 10,000 tons 2006 YEAR: 6,000 tons).

Growth of sodium tripolyphosphate:

The growth of the STPP in the 2001-2006 year is 1% per year. Future growth is 0.5% per year by 2010.

Price of sodium tripolyphosphate:

Between 2001 and 2006, the rates are high, up to $41.40 per cwt. The landed duty-paid import price is low, up to $27.85, same basis. The current price is more than $38-$41, same root.

Common uses:

  • Detergent builders use approx. 48% (25% industrial and institutional cleaners, 23% dishwashing)
  • Food and beverage, 32% (15% in meat, poultry, seafood, 9% baking, 6% dairy, 3% other)
  • process and boiler water treatment uses 8% of chemical
  • Miscellaneous uses 11%, including plastic and metal finishing and dentifrices.

Market perspective

In the late 1940s, with the growth of synthetic detergent formulations, STTP or sodium tripolyphosphate arose as the predominant high-quality among detergent builder materials. Detergent sodium builders improve the detergent’s cleaning properties by increasing soil removal and preventing or diminishing its re-deposition during the wash cycle.

In the late 1960s, the water eutrophication problems focused environmental attention on the phosphate discharge from different sources like a principal contributor to the phenomenon. It led to bans or limits on the use of phosphate in detergents by the late 1970s.

Later in the US, sodium tripolyphosphate has been removed from all household laundry detergents, except regional and private label products. However, slowly losing share in the industrial and institutional cleaner segment to zeolites, STPP maintains a large presence in dishwashing, more or less competing on price successfully against the zeolites. In these uses, STPP has an acknowledged cost-performance advantage over other substitutes.

Food-grade STPP or sodium tripolyphosphate continues to do comparatively well with the continuing processed foods growth – approx. 1.5% per year. In processed foods, it provides a variety of beneficial functions like a curing accelerator, sequestrate, emulsifier leveling aid, or, depending on the application.

Market Trends

  • Increasing use in care products and cosmetics
  • Growing medical tourism
  • Emerging uses in the agricultural sector


It seems that the STPP dramatic decline in the detergent business has over. However, they are still used in detergents – dishwashing powders and institutional and industrial cleaners – no phosphate prohibitions, and none are projected. STPP’s applications, except for food, are mature. Little growth or no growth for these significant sectors is likely over the forecast period.



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