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MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Institute of the Plastics Industry (Instituto Mexicano del Pl stico Industrial) has introduced what it calls the first Spanish-language encyclopedia of plastics.

Almost 80 percent, or 14 chapters, of the 700-page Enciclopedia de Pl stico contains technical information, such as properties and applications of the different types of plastics, additives and recycling processes.

``Some of the information is very general, perhaps for a company that is looking for a specific finished product, while other areas are more specialized and can help processors investigate new methods or materials,'' said Carlos Gonzalez, technology manager of IMPI.

The rest of the encyclopedia comprises a directory of names, addresses, telephone numbers and individual contact information for companies that produce plastic raw materials, machines or finished products in Mexico. The book also includes a directory of plastics associations worldwide.

The institute said it drew upon all the information it has collected in its 13 years of existence to produce this first volume, completed in 21/2 years.

``We hope to continue on a yearly basis, and for 1998 expand to two volumes on machinery and raw materials so that we can go into greater depth,'' Gonzalez said in a May 2 interview at IMPI's Mexico City offices.

Sponsored by IMPI and the country's polymer producers, the volume is being distributed free to owners and chief executive officers of processors operating in Mexico. Nonprocessor firms in Mexico are asked to pay 500 pesos ($63.30). The fee is $100, not including shipping and handling, for other firms in Latin America and the United States.

For more information, fax IMPI at +52 (5) 687-4960, or telephone +52 (5) 669-3325.