A few months ago I wrote about how petrochemicals helped keep us cool in the heat of the summer. Now with the temperature dropping, the days getting shorter, and the football season in full swing, fall is definitely in the air. Did you know that you can stay healthy and warm this season thanks to the wonderful world of petrochemicals?

The first question my mother (a former nurse) asks me each fall is “have you gotten your flu shot?” Some flu vaccines are being created in bio-process containers made of plastics created by petrochemical-based materials such as polyethylene (made from the petrochemical ethylene) as a starting material. Their use is to grow cell cultures in controlled environments which then yield the proteins that are the basis for new drug therapies as well as the more common flu vaccines. Also, the flu shot will likely be administered using syringes made from polypropylene (made from the petrochemical propylene) or polyvinyl chloride aka PVC (which is created from the ethylene as a building block.)

Warmer and weather resistant clothes are a must in the fall. I’m always a fan of the fleece jacket which nowadays often is made from recycled polyester (polyester is made from petrochemicals). 25 two liter soda bottles can be recycled into an adult-size fleece jacket. This technology is now being used to create base layers and shell jackets which also help keep you toasty.

Here in DC we also get a lot of rain so keeping your feet dry is key. My recommendation is to put on your “wellies” which are waterproof and can be made from PVC. Or, if you don’t have wellies, at least make sure to have your umbrella made using nylon (which is a synthetic fiber produced from petrochemical derivatives including hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid) close at hand.

Petrochemicals play a key role in our lives no matter what the season. Whether it is for warmth or for health, they positively impact us every day.

Melissa Hockstad

Posted by Melissa Hockstad

Melissa Hockstad is the former Vice President of Petrochemicals for AFPM. To learn more about AFPM, visit AFPM.org.