Disposable diaper prices could soon be in flux worldwide, following a weekend factory explosion in Japan.
Production has reportedly halted at a plant that makes a key ingredient in baby diapers: acrylic acid. Acrylic acid is used to produce super absorbent polymers, which help disposable diapers absorb liquid without spilling.
A shortage of acrylic acid could, in theory, drive up both wholesale and consumer prices.
Nippon Shokubai Co., which operates the plant, boasts that it is the world's number-one acrylic acid manufacturer. In a video on the company's website, Nippon Shokubai said the acrylic acid line is its "core business," and that it produces 25 percent of the world's total supply.
The sprawling plant, in Himeji, Japan, covers nine-million square feet, according to the company. It was not immediately clear what caused the Saturday explosion or whether the plant could reopen.
Nippon Shokubai was not available for comment.
Even before the explosion, Nippon Shokubai's video said its facilities were operating at "full production capacity" to keep pace with demand for acrylic acid.
Nippon Shokubai operates an affiliated plant in Bayport, Texas, which is located west of Houston.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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