8. Products of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Industries & Impact on Us
7. to 9. are all connected as a survey of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, lots of overlap I'm afraid
Doc Brown's KS4 Science GCSE/IGCSE O Level Industrial Chemistry Revision Notes
Index of sections: 1. Limestone, lime - uses, thermal decomposition of carbonates, hydroxides and nitrates * 2. Enzymes and Biotechnology * 3. Contact Process, the importance of sulphuric acid * 4. How can metals be made more useful? (alloys of Al, Fe, steel etc.) * 5. The importance of titanium * 6. Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis * 7. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Industry Economics & Sustainability * 8. Products of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Industries & impact on us * 9. The Principles & Practice of Chemical Production - Synthesising Molecules and other web pages of industrial chemistry notes: Ammonia synthesis/uses/fertilisers * Oil Products * Extraction of Metals * Halogens - sodium chloride Electrolysis * Transition Metals * Extra Electrochemistry
8. Products of the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Industries & Impact on Us
8.1 What do the chemical and pharmaceutical industries make for us?
Well, rather a lot! The number of useful products produced can be observed by merely looking round your own home, but, this applies mainly to the developed world with all its readily available consumer products and all developed by chemists.
Most of the products you come across in the home have to researched, formulated and tested by companies to meet the various health and safety regulations, but note any hazard warning symbols on some chemical products e.g. powerful cleaning agents for the toilet.
Examples of the thousands of products that are available to us in the developed world, many would be described as consumer products ...
Drugs e.g. analgesics for headaches like aspirin and paracetamol, blood pressure reduction tablets, stomach powders,
Food supplements and additives e.g. vitamin tablets, food flavourings, food colourings, preservatives
Cleaning products and disinfectants e.g. oven cleaner, toilet cleaner bleach, washing-up liquid, washing powders, soap, household ammonia,
DIY products e.g. glues, paints and their pigments,
Clothing industry e.g. dyes, fabric fibres
Cosmetics etc. e.g. perfumes, fragrances, hand creams
Agricultural industry e.g. fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides,
Electrical goods e.g. plastic casing structure of TV, computers, kettles, plug and socket casings, copper wire,
Fuels e.g. petrol, diesel, central heating oil, paraffin - all from the petrochemical industry utilising crude oil
Industrial chemicals produced in large quantities to be converted into useful products e.g. ethene from cracking oil fractions to make polymers, sulfuric acid for fertilisers, ammonia to make fertilisers and nitric acid, hydrogen, chlorine and sodium hydroxide from the electrolysis of brine (the last three form the basis of the chlor-alkali industry)..
8.2 Scale of production and What does the chemical industry in the UK consist of?
Some chemical products are produced on a large scale ('bulk chemicals'), but not necessarily of high value per 'unit'. A million tonnes of sulfuric acid may be produced, along with large quantities of ammonia and sodium hydroxide but its still only in the 2% by value of the UK's chemical economy (see pie chart).
Some chemicals are produced on a small scale, but despite the low volume output, they are often of high value and essential products e.g. for the pharmaceutical industry. They are called 'fine chemicals' and include drugs, food additives, perfumes,
Shown in the pie chart is the UK chemical industry sector shares of gross value for 2005 from somewhere on the internet?
I couldn't find any more recent data than 2005, so how different it is in 2013, I've no idea!
Its worth noting that ...
8.3 Developing products in the pharmaceutical industry and NEW chemical products
The drugs developed and produced by the pharmaceutical industry are often very costly in the making for several reasons
Whenever any new chemical products are made after the research and development stage, they must be tested for any potential health and safety issue. It doesn't matter whether its a bulk chemical for the chemical industry itself, or a fine chemical like a domestic cleaning agent.
8.4 The impact of using chemicals
The huge list of uses at the top of the page is testament to the value we place on our life-style based on the products of the chemical industry. Whatever the problems, and some are outlined below, we derive great benefits from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, not least its contribution to our health and lifestyle. Perhaps in some ways we have become a bit too dependant on them?
However, we should all be aware there are health, safety and environmental issues that need consideration. I'll defend the products of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries having worked in them, taught chemistry and benefited from their products, but I'm no apologist for them, there are situations which are not as they should be.
Agrochemicals are used a lot to increase crop yields by killing off insects, weeds and moulds etc. Many toxic chemicals that do not readily breakdown, so, if they get into the environment, they stick around for quite some time. both on land and in water e.g. getting washed into steams, rivers and lakes. It may be due to a chemical factory fumes or a spillage, but we do apply lots of agrochemicals directly onto the land, so pollution results from over-use or careless spraying or spreading. Unfortunately, they then, somewhat indirectly enter the food chains of animals. Therefore harmful-toxic chemicals can become more concentrated in animals further up the food chain and even enter our own bodies. There are other more 'global' problems from using chemicals and allowing them to escape into the environment e.g. the depletion of the ozone layer (see Ozone, CFC's). Some examples ...
(a) Pesticides - Insecticides
(b) Herbicides and fungicides
(c) PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
(d) Washing up liquids and washing powders
8.5 Government Regulations to protect us and the environment
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