’Twas the week before Christmas, when I looked all around
And realized it’s the chemical industry that makes cheer abound

The manufacturing of chemicals and the chemistry of their applications make up the vast majority of the products we rely on every day. And the holidays are no exception.

Whether you’re trimming the tree, wrapping presents or enjoying time with loved ones, consider how the chemical industry plays a role in that holiday magic.

1. Christmas trees: Increasingly, consumers are switching to synthetic or artificial trees as an environmentally conscious choice or for the ease of assembly and maintenance. Synthetic trees rely on chemical engineering and are typically made from polyvinyl chloride, steel and aluminum.

2. Candles and essential oils: If you go the synthetic tree route but miss the smell of pine, a scented candle or oil diffuser created by chemistry can remedy that. Most candles are made from a combination of hydrogen and carbon, and most essential oils consist of terpenoid molecules that are modified to control evaporation, dissolve rates and shelf life.  

3. Ornaments: Most of our tree accessories are made from glass with a coating called silvering solution that is applied to the inside to create that cheery glow. The tops of ornaments and the hooks used to attach them are often made of tin or aluminum.

4. Lights: With copper for the wiring, argon for the casing, tungsten for the filament and polyvinyl chloride for the wire covering, the lights that trim your tree and light up Candy Lane are a fine example of chemistry from the inside out.

5. Wrapping paper: Manufactured from wood pulp, wrapping paper is finished with pigments, inks and dyes that make up the bright patterns.

6. Toys: As you navigate the Legos strewn about the living room floor or wrestle to release a new toy from protective packaging, think fondly of the chemical industry. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a sturdy and tough plastic used to make many classic plastic toys, and you can thank low-density polyethylene for the lightweight and flexible protective packaging that safeguarded that newly cherished toy from manufacturer to play time.

7. Christmas dinnerware: Hosting this year? Disposable dinnerware makes cleanup a snap, and much of it is recyclable. Check for the No. 6 recycling label, so these holiday time-savers can be put to use again!

8. Fireplace cheer for the fire-starting challenged: Starter logs, which are often made of recycled materials, wax and the polysaccharide cellulose, are a helpful tool for building a fire. And for those who simply wish to flip a switch, your cheer is brought to you via propane, which can be extracted from natural gas liquids found here in Pennsylvania. Propane is also a foundational chemical used as a petrochemical feedstock for a variety of applications and products.

9. Connecting with loved ones far and near: From rare earth metals in the glass display to epoxy resins for printed circuit boards and polymer coatings to protect devices from
moisture and dirt, chemistry is a key part of our homes and mobile devices that keeps us connected so we can still celebrate with loved ones and share in the holiday spirit when distance keeps us apart.

Not only does the chemical industry provide the products we use every day, but it is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the world.

From PCIC and the approximately 80,000 chemical industry employees in Pennsylvania, we’re proud to provide the chemistry and products that help make the season merry and bright. We wish you a very happy holiday!

Chemical industry applauds officials for leadership in advancing the development of an ethane storage hub

Harrisburg, PA (June 5, 2018) – This week, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, led by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Greene/Washington) and Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), demonstrated their commitment to maximizing the potential of the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations by introducing a resolution to support the establishment of an ethane storage hub in the Appalachian region.

The resolution calls for the expedient passage of several pieces of federal legislation and policies to support the storage hub’s development.

“Pennsylvania has the assets to be a strong player in the global plastics market, and the Shell Polymers plant investment is a signal to industry that Pennsylvania is open for business,” Bartolotta said. “This resolution demonstrates our support for continued momentum in capitalizing on the commonwealth's energy resources long term and ensuring we’re putting natural gas to work for the people of Pennsylvania. The development of an ethane storage hub in the Appalachian region would build a strong foundation for future investments.”

According to “The Potential Economic Benefits of an Appalachian Petrochemical Industry,” a study commissioned by the American Chemistry Council, the region contains enough natural gas liquids feedstock to attract $35 billion in new chemical and plastics industry investment. Investments of this scale could create 100,000 jobs, $28 billion in new economic output, more than $6 billion in annual payroll, and nearly $3 billion a year in federal, state and local tax revenue.“Shell’s investment was the first of many to produce the next generation of industrial and economic prosperity for western Pennsylvania,” Christiana said. “I was proud to play a role in bringing industry, labor and government to the table to make that a reality. That investment started with a conversation, and we need to continue those conversations and efforts to solidify the sustained and diversified benefit of building out markets around the state’s energy resources.”

Denise BrinleyPCIC Press Conference 7

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“Our state’s skilled workforce, abundant high-value natural gas, and strategic location make Pennsylvania a prime place for energy investment,” said Team Pennsylvania CEO and President, Ryan Unger. “Improving our state’s natural gas liquids infrastructure is critical to maintain our competitive advantage in securing additional petrochemical investments and growing our plastics industry.”

The natural gas produced from the Marcellus Shale play is rich in ethane and propane, two high-value natural gas liquids used in petrochemical production and plastics manufacturing. The IHS Markit study “Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing,” commissioned by Team Pennsylvania in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, forecasted that, from 2026 to 2030, the expected ethane production from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays will be enough to support up to four additional world-scale ethane steam crackers in the region.

“From resin and plastic additives and innovations in product properties, the chemical industry is improving the manufacturing process and making the products we use daily more versatile, durable and sustainable,” Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council President Abby Foster said. “Many of these global industry leaders have chosen to do business here in Pennsylvania, and the development of ethane storage facilities would drive additional investments to grow the supply chain and solidify this market for Pennsylvania. We applaud the Legislature’s leadership in recognizing this potential and driving support for this growing industry.”  

Chemical companies respect and prioritize their role in protecting their workers, transportation partners and communities across America. They make good on their commitment to safety through world-class industry programs that focus on preventing accidents and providing valuable resources to emergency responders.

Wednesday, PCIC had the opportunity to see that commitment firsthand at the Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER) training that took place at the Wheeling and Lake Erie Rook Yard in Carnegie.

More than 50 first responders from the region attended the free, full-day training, which provided an overview of railroad safety and chemicals, and hands-on training on the various emergency response kits and leak-mitigation scenarios specific to transporting chlorine.

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More than 50 first responders participated in the free, full-day training in Carnegie. 

TRANSCAER is a partnership between the chemical industry and transportation providers, including railroads and trucking companies, that assists communities along hazardous materials transportation routes in preparing to respond effectively to an incident.

Annually, more than 2,000 first responders nationwide participate in this program.

The National Chlorine Institute spearheaded this event in partnership with Wheeling and Lake Erie Rail, CSX, the American Chemistry Council and more. Local elected and other officials also attended a brief overview of the program to learn more about their role in the safety and mitigation processes, as well as the resources at their disposal.

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Local elected and other officials also attended a brief overview of the program.

CHLOREP Emergency Response Assistance is one such resource that officials can use for their communities in the event of an incident. This mutual aid program provides a rapid and effective response to chlorine emergencies in the U.S. and Canada by ensuring that transportation service providers, end users, first responders, hazmat teams and others have ready access to accurate industry expertise and trained response teams.

Through the Chlorine Institute’s collaboration with CHEMTREC® (the Chemical Transportation Emergency Center, operated by the American Chemistry Council) and CANUTEC (the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre, operated by Transport Canada), this service is available 24/7 and can be activated by calling CHEMTREC® toll-free at 1-800-424-9300.

For the majority of PCIC members, logistics including the transportation of materials are a key part of operations, and safety measures are ingrained in the chemical industry’s day-to-day operations, tasks and company culture. ACC has developed a campaign, “Safety Moves Us,” specific to that aspect of operations with data on how industry is delivering on safety every day.


Source: American Chemistry Council, Safety Moves Us

Collaborations like TRANSCAER with industry leaders proactively educate, build relationships and provide resources that demonstrate the industry’s strong commitment to being a partner in the communities where it operates and its materials move.

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