When crude oil or natural gas is processed at a refinery, it is converted into numerous petroleum products. In 2017, 75% of the oil was processed into motor gasoline, distillate fuel, and jet fuel but the remainder was processed into chemicals, synthetic rubber and a variety of plastics used to manufacture our creature comforts. Below is a list of 10 products made from petroleum you would be surprised to find out.
Aspirin, one of the most common medications used to treat pain, inflammation, and fevers, consists of benzene, a hydrocarbon typically derived from petroleum.
CD’s and DVD’s
As most plastics made from petrochemicals, CDs and DVDs are made from polycarbonate plastics. When compact discs were created, petroleum-based lubricants were needed to make the disk spin smoothly.
The base of chewing gum is manufactured with petroleum wax. The Food and Drug Administration approves the use of this substance as long as it meets particular ultraviolet absorbance limits. You may also find paraffin wax in your kitchen or pantry as it is used to coat cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, in chicken nuggets to prevent foaming during preparation, and in over-the-counter drugs to prevent bloating.
Unless you make it a point to wear only 100% wool or cotton, you most likely have a dresser full of polyester clothing. Polyester is a synthetic petroleum fiber incorporated into 60% of clothing worldwide. Unlike cotton products, polyester is not biodegradable.
Some cosmetics, including lipstick, are made with paraffin wax, the same synthetic wax used for chewing gum and scented candles. Lipsticks are made with paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum byproducts.| Lynette Olanos/Creative Commons
Any rugs made with synthetic fibers use petroleum-based nylon or olefin. Some rugs have blended fibers, mixed with both synthetic and natural fibers like animal wool, cotton, and even plant cellulose.
So-called dry shampoo uses liquified petroleum gas to spray the cosmetic into dry hair. Also known as LPG, propane, and butane is considered liquified petroleum gas. Another thing to keep in mind: the whole plastic shampoo bottle is produced from petrochemicals derived from the oil refinery process. Most plastics, including water bottles, are a part of this process.
Fossil fuels are used in the manufacturing of solar panels but are also found in the solar cell parts that help convert sunlight into electrical energy. However, as the Scientific American reports, those synthetic petroleum-derived plastics may soon be replaced by plant-based fiber components.
Toothpaste uses poloxamer 407, a common petroleum derivative that helps oil-based ingredients to be dissolved in water.