Be it due to chemical warfare, germ warfare, nuclear accident or just the random mutation of some lethal virus, the growth in demand for plastic hazmat suits and other types of basic plastic medical supplies will be closely correlated, and will eventually exceed, growth in the world's population.
And since I expect the population to expand at a steady rate for the next 75 years or so, this is good news for the plastics industry.
Most of the focus in the plastics industry press in recent years has been on all of the technological breakthroughs in the medical device sector. Without a doubt, the progress is impressive, and I predict this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. These breakthroughs generate their own demand, so demand is growing faster than the sluggish rate of population growth in the industrialized world. This means that the political will to invest huge sums of capital in new medical technologies will persist in the near-term because it's the older generation that shows up to vote in these countries.
But despite all of the amazing advances in technology, I still expect that most of the baby boomers will be dead in 75 years. (It is the millennials that will live forever.) Meanwhile, the populations of the world's developing countries, where the weather and social conditions are perfect for the evolution of deadly viruses and bacteria, will have grown substantially.
The net result of these demographic trends will be a significant shift in the type of medical equipment and supplies that are in global demand. The focus of the medical supply industrial complex will change from the low-volume, high-margin types of high-tech devices that currently get all of the attention to high-volume types of plastics health care products like hazmat suits and basic medical supplies. A plastic suit will be considered a basic necessity as a layer of defense against nature's pending swarms of terrible insects or man's clouds of deadly pollution or radiation.