7 everyday products derived from Petroleum


The device you are holding in your hands right now, the chair you are sitting on, and also the clothes you are wearing right now contain at least one petroleum product. Yes, you read that right, we are literally surrounded by petroleum products. Let’s learn more about 7 everyday products derived from Petroleum

As we learn more about the environment and human impact on it- we try to be more aware of things going around us. We generally talk a lot about changing the environment, industrial pollution, greenhouse gases, and whatnot. But we fail to look at small-scale products or in other words products in our daily lives.

 When crude oil or natural gas is processed at a refinery, it is transformed into several petroleum products.

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 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.

The article focuses on 7 everyday products that are derived from petroleum.

7 everyday products that are derived from petroleum

1.     Clothing

Unless you make it a point to wear 100% cotton clothes, there is a high chance that you have a dresser full of polyester clothing. Polyester is a synthetic petroleum fiber. 60% of the clothing worldwide has polyester incorporated into it. Polyester is non-biodegradable, unlike cotton fiber.

2.     Dentures

Nowadays dentures are made up of acrylic resin, a hydrocarbon, along with porcelain, metal, and nylon. The acrylic resin can be dyed to look more like natural gum color.

3.     Cosmetics

A lot of beauty products nowadays have paraffin wax as a common base. Paraffin wax is made from saturated hydrocarbons. Along with lipsticks, this was used for making chewing gums and scented candles.

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4.     Rugs

Any synthetic fibers used in making rugs often 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.

5.     Plastic products

Many of the plastic products (commodity plastics or engineering plastics) that we use nowadays are made completely from a synthetic plastic. The major examples are polyamides (nylons), Polycarbonates (security windows, eyeglasses), Polyethylene (supermarket bags, plastic bottles), and Polyvinyl Chlorides (PVC).

6.     Toothpaste/shampoo

Many kinds of toothpaste use Poloxamer 407, a common petroleum derivative that acts as a surfactant that aids oil-based ingredients to be mixed in water. 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. Not to forget the entire plastic containers which are used for packaging are made up of petrochemicals out of oil refineries.

7.     Paints

Petrochemicals are used to make oil-based paints and paint additives. Not all paints use petroleum-derived products, but some? Yes. The most basic example is Acrylic paints.

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Now that you have learned about 7 daily products obtained from petroleum, I want you to be more vigilant about the things around you and let me know what other products you find.

Certainly, there are many more products. My attempt is not to find alternatives to these things. It’s more about awareness than the research. Obviously, no matter how much we try we are going to use some or other petroleum derivative.

However, while doing research for this article I came across a very good infographic which gives a clear picture of petroleum products in our surroundings. You can see that here.

If you like what you just read, consider sharing this piece to your friends, family and colleagues.

Happy Reading!!!

Cover pic credits – Photo by Meru Bi from Pexels

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