Posted: 22 August 2000

Chemicals derived from oil and natural gas - for example, ethylene, propylene, toluene - which act as feedstocks for the manufacture of products such as plastics, pesticides, fertilisers, antiseptics and pharmaceuticals. Petrochemicals play a very important role in modern society, but they also create pollution problems. Plastics are a major component of solid waste, for example, fertilisers contribute to eutrophication of lakes and rivers and pesticide residues in food and water present health problems.