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  • Iron oxides yield pigments that are widely used in the cosmetic field. They are considered to be nontoxic, moisture resistant, and non bleeding. Iron oxides graded safe for cosmetic use are produced synthetically in order to avoid the inclusion of ferrous or ferric oxides, and impurities normally found in naturally occurring iron oxides.
  • Some of these oxides are used in ceramic applications, particularly in glazing. Iron oxides, along with oxides of other metals, provide the colours in some glazes after being fired at a high temperature.


  • The manufacturing processes for iron oxide pigments can be exactly controlled, the modern synthesized versions usually are much purer, have smaller particle sizes and greater tinting strength, and are much more opaque than the natural iron oxides of the same type.
  •  They can also be mixed to match precisely any yellow, orange, red or brown hue, including near black browns. For these reasons the natural pigments have been almost entirely replaced by synthetic oxide mixtures, currently marketed in watercolors under the names venetian red, english red, indian red, or light red (PR101) and mars yellow (PY42, PY119), but are now also used in hues formerly made of natural red (PBr7) or yellow (PY43) iron oxides.


  • Demand in the US for color pigments, including inorganic, organic and specialty types, is forecast to increase 4.4 percent per year to $3.8 billion in 2011, driven by a shift toward more expensive high-performance organic  pigments and specialty types. Steady increases in large pigment markets such as paints and coatings will  support volume growth. Trade continues to have a large impact on the US pigment industry (imports and exports account for about 25 percent of demand and  production value, respectively). Imports mostly consist of lower end pigments while higher-quality products are exported.
  • Western Europe is the largest regional market for iron oxide pigments, followed by North America, China accounts for the largest share of world production , Germany produced over 70% of Western Europe’s supply or about 18% of global supply in 2000 , India is The largest producer of natural iron oxide pigments. Western Europe is a net exporter, while other regions are net importers.

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