What Are Petrochemicals? These Amazing Chemical Compounds Are Everywhere!

Petrochemicals are chemical products or hydrocarbons derived from crude oil through the process of refining. Some of these chemicals can also be derived from other non-renewable sources, such as coal or natural gas. Olefins and Aromatics are two of the most common petrochemical classes used in the world today. Methanol is another class of petrochemicals; they are not as common as the other two. Petrochemicals are primarily employed in industries such as Cosmetics, Electronics, Packaging, and Textiles. Petrochemicals are the backbone of several such industries, where they are required for various applications and products essential for comfortable daily lives. You can find these chemicals in a range of products – from headlamps in vehicles to lenses in lab devices.

Advantages and Uses:


Petrochemicals are widely regarded as plastics, something harmful and dangerous to be eliminated from daily human lives. However, the use of petrochemicals is too widespread to be eliminated quickly as most products we use now have plastic components in them. They are used as preservatives in the food and food packaging, which helps prolong the freshness of the produce. They are commonly used in household cleaning products, manufacturing rubber for weather-resistant shoes, and synthetic fibers. One of the practical uses of petrochemicals is in paints and adhesives. Petrochemicals are also used in the agriculture industry to manufacture pesticides and fertilizers. Moreover, petrochemicals are also used in Manufacturing, Medical, Transportation, and Textile industries. In the manufacturing industry, petrochemicals are used for making electric vehicle parts and batteries and in renewable energy sources like Solar and Wind Energy. Petrochemicals are found in daily-use household items such as perfumes, makeup products, aftershaves, and shampoos, to name a few. Methanol is used for thermal insulation and building construction. Petrochemical ethylene is used in the photography industry and for manufacturing garbage bags.


Advantages and Uses:

Despite their widespread use, it is evident that petrochemicals come with disadvantages. The concerns surrounding petrochemicals mainly circle around the sheer volume of plastic that is being discarded on a daily basis. These chemicals stay intact for a long time, and getting rid of them is not easy. One of the major disadvantages of petrochemicals is their exposure and absorption into living beings. Petrochemicals are known for breaking down into smaller bits called nurdles, which are capable of absorbing toxic chemicals. The nurdles are easily ingested through food, which harms the living being. The manufacturing process of petrochemicals inadvertently pollutes the air, water, and soil around the area surrounding the factories. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in the environment. The hazardous effects of exposure to petrochemicals may cause living beings to accumulate these chemicals in their bodies, leading to the brain, nervous system, and liver damage. They might also cause birth defects and hormonal disorders. These hazardous chemicals may also cause skin allergy or asthma in some people. Petrochemicals are one of the significant reasons for cancer in human beings.

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