We Eat Petroleum, Yes We Do!

More often than not, we read about the downside of petroleum. We’ve seen news of people protesting against fuel consumption and that soci...

More often than not, we read about the downside of petroleum. We’ve seen news of people protesting against fuel consumption and that society has to convert to other forms of power, like electricity or solar energy, or we will all be damned to hell. Well, the thing is that petroleum is immensely important in our everyday lives. Here’s some things that we use petroleum for before you label it as the devil's substance: -

1) Cosmetics & Toiletries

Lipstick, foundation, eyeshadow...a cosmetic item could be made up to 80% of petroleum-based product. The most common components are oils, waxes, perfumes, dyes, and other petrochemicals (chemical products derived from petroleum). Petroleum byproducts are also found in your shampoos, conditioners, and hair dyes.

2) Synthetic Rubber

Isn’t rubber derived from trees? Well, because of its thermal stability and strength, synthetic rubber is chosen over latex as the preferred material in manufacturing—sporting goods, shoes, tyres, the list goes on. Synthetic rubber is widely used in wire and cable insulation, but because of its high cost, natural rubber is preferred.

3) Lubricants

Apart from you-know-what, lubricants are found in an extensive array of everyday items. The most common is, of course, motor oil, and then you have grease and paraffin wax, found in candles. And since some lubricants can contain as much as 90% oil, they are almost a pure petroleum byproduct.

4) Medicines

Gulp! Many of today’s medications are derived from benzene, and benzene in turn is derived from petroleum. Numerous over-the-counter pain medications, such as aspirin, are based on this petrochemical. Petroleum-based products are even used extensively in homeopathy!

5) Cleaning products

There is a reason that the labels contain warnings. From making your table shine or keeping your house sparkling, cleaning products contain synthetic chemical substances. Glycerin, another petrochemical, is found in laundry and dish detergents.

6) Asphalt

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a semi-solid form of petroleum. It can be either natural or refined, and its main purpose is to act as the glue between various minerals, creating a material known as asphalt concrete. There are over 11 million miles of paved road in the world, and the US of A accounts for 2.6 million miles alone. This sticky material is sometimes confused with tar, which is a similar black material produced during the distillation of coal.

The world's highest paved road is the Ticlio Pass on the Carretera Central in Peru. It is even higher than Mount Kinabalu! 

7) Synthetic fabrics

Fibers that are petroleum-based are durable, readily available, and easy to maintain. It is much cheaper than natural fabrics and is becoming increasingly popular in the world of fashion and home goods. There are so many usages for synthetic fibers, i.e curtains, couches, carpet, rayon, nylon, spandex, acrylic, and polyester. So, whenever you put on a piece of clothing, think PETROLEUM.

8) Food

Yes, food! Petroleum byproducts are used in many synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Food preservatives, flavorings, and colouring also use petrochemicals. Oil helps the agriculture industry produce more food, cultivate it faster, and keep it fresh for longer. It also helps to pollute the atmosphere. (Darn!)

Your chewing gum has petroleum-based polymers (eeww...)

9) Plastic

Everywhere you look, you're probably looking at plastic—your iPod, that Mountain Dew bottle, parts of your car, your home…so so many things.

Plastic bags are made from oil. It takes about 1.6 million litres of oil to produce 100 million plastic bags!

10) Fuel

Gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel account for around 72% of petroleum consumption. The petroleum refining process is complex, and these types of fuel may chemically differ by only the slightest degree. Despite this, different types of fuel can vary greatly in their physical properties and attributes, although they are essentially used for the same purpose.

Here are more items that are made from petroleum (reader discretion is advised):

Solvents—Diesel fuel—Motor Oil—Bearing Grease— Ink— Floor Wax— Ballpoint Pens— Football Cleats— Upholstery— Sweaters— Boats— Insecticides— Bicycle Tires— Sports Car Bodies— Nail Polish— Fishing lures— Dresses— Tires— Golf Bags— Perfumes— Cassettes— Dishwasher parts— Tool Boxes— Shoe Polish— Motorcycle Helmet— Caulking— Petroleum Jelly— Transparent Tape— CD Player— Faucet Washers— Antiseptics— Clothesline— Curtains— Food Preservatives— Basketballs— Soap— Vitamin Capsules— Antihistamines— Purses— Shoes— Dashboards— Cortisone— Deodorant— Footballs— Putty— Dyes— Panty Hose— Refrigerant— Percolators— Life Jackets— Rubbing Alcohol— Linings— Skis— TV Cabinets— Shag Rugs— Electrician’s Tape— Tool Racks— Car Battery Cases— Epoxy— Paint— Mops— Slacks— Insect Repellent— Oil Filters— Umbrellas— Yarn— Fertilizers— Hair Coloring— Roofing— Toilet Seats— Fishing Rods— Lipstick— Denture Adhesive— Linoleum— Ice Cube Trays— Synthetic Rubber— Speakers— Plastic Wood— Electric Blankets— Glycerin— Tennis Rackets— Rubber Cement— Fishing Boots— Dice— Nylon Rope— Candles— Trash Bags— House Paint— Water Pipes— Hand Lotion— Roller Skates— Surf Boards— Shampoo— Wheels— Paint Rollers— Shower Curtains— Guitar Strings— Luggage— Aspirin— Safety Glasses— Antifreeze— Football Helmets— Awnings— Eyeglasses — Clothes— Toothbrushes— Ice Chests— Footballs— Combs— CD’s & DVD’s— Paint Brushes— Detergents— Vaporizers— Balloons— Sun Glasses— Tents— Heart Valves— Crayons— Parachutes— Telephones— Enamel— Pillows— Dishes— Cameras— Anesthetics— Artificial Turf— Artificial Limbs— Bandages— Dentures— Model Cars— Folding Doors— Hair Curlers— Cold cream— Movie film— Soft Contact Lenses— Drinking Cups— Fan Belts— Car Enamel— Shaving Cream— Ammonia— Refrigerators— Golf Balls—Toothpaste (Yuck)— Gasoline— 

The machinery in oil extraction requires fuel to run. The steel industry requires oil and fuel to extract iron ore; oil is sometimes used to generate electricity to fuel plants. The extraction of coal to generate electricity requires oil. Asphalt for roads requires oil. Plastic dashboards and bumpers are made with oil. All of the machinery to build roads requires oil.  


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