Monday, March 12, 2012

A Tough Pill To Swallow

      These days, we hear a lot about petroleum and how it is used to create many of the products that we see and use every day.  Often there are alternatives to using petroleum for these purposes or ways to reuse and recycle and still U.S. petroleum consumption remains the highest in the world.  This has many different implications as far as energy renewal and environmental concerns, but does this have a potential effect on our own personal health as well?

     Did you know that most of the medications that we have available today are created through the use of petroleum products?  That’s right.  Petrochemicals, which are created from petroleum, are used as either the source for the molecules that make up the active ingredients in most medications or in the process towards creating these molecules.

     Something else to consider is that according U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 71.99% of the 6.99 billion barrels of petroleum that was used in the United States in 2010 went towards gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuels.  That leaves roughly about 28% that goes towards making everything else that is produced from petroleum.  Only 2% end up as petrochemical feedstocks, which are used to create the petrochemicals needed to produce medications.

     Medications are used to save lives and treat illness.  With only 2% of every barrel of oil being used in the U.S. to produce these medications, it is clear that every year we are burning more and more of this precious resource.  This might be something to think about next time you fill up your car with gasoline or are faced with the decision of whether or not to switch to using a more expensive, but renewable resource.


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