10 Most Surprising Places to Find Petroleum

About one quarter of the oil consumed in this country is used for industrial purposes. Plastic production is the most obvious example, as awareness grows of the harm plastic does to the earth and people shun the material when they can.

But oil has permeated more of our lives than most people realize. Here, the most surprising places you’ll find oil, in some form, as a key ingredient:

1. Chewing gum

It lasts as long as it does for a reason–just about all brands on store shelves today use petroleum-based polymers. (Unless you find, say, Chicza’s organic rainforest gum, but I haven’t seen it at any 7-Eleven lately.) In fact, Goodyear–the tire and rubber company–supplies Wrigley’s with much of its gum base.

2. Hair dye

As if the toxic chemicals in hair dye weren’t enough reason to avoid coloring your hair. Try finding more natural alternatives, or just go au naturale.

3. Asphalt

Also known as bitumen, the material used to resurface roads (as well as in roofing materials) is an oil-based hydrocarbon. Meaning: if you noticed that road construction slowed down in your area at all in the last year, rising oil costs may well have been the reason.

4. Crayons

The main ingredient is paraffin wax, a petroleum product also used in most candles.

5. Ink

Ever wonder why so many companies with an eco-conscience tout their use of soy-based ink?

6. Pantyhose

…and all other nylon products. All petroleum-based.

7, 8, 9, 10…Ok, there’s going to be more than 10 items on this list

Heart Valves. Pillows. Aspirin. Ammonia. Toothpaste. Toothbrushes. Guitar strings. Shoe polish. Tape. Rubbing Alcohol. Vitamin capsules. Solvents. Caulking. Insecticides. Deodorant. Glue.

The wax layer of the packaging your frozen food comes in. (And, of course, the fertilizers that farmers used to grow much of that food.)

Given the ubiquity of oil, it’s not an easy thing to get away from, no matter how much bike-riding and food-growing we do for ourselves. (Though both of things are a great start…keep ‘em up!) But, like other addictions, we got ourselves hooked, and with serious effort and dedication, we can get ourselves unhooked.

Join the oil detox and start weaning yourself today.

5 Human Habits Harmful to the Earth
Enough with the Plastic Water Bottles Already
How You Can Help the Ocean

By Rachel Cernansky, Planet Green


W. C
W. C4 days ago

Thank you.

Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly3 years ago


Tami Johnson
Tami Johnson5 years ago

not all that surprising--thanks!!!

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago


KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Noted with thanks.

Loopz K.
Loopz K.6 years ago

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Janes J.
Janes J.6 years ago

Hi, thanks so very much for these suggestions!...

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Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago

it is not a real suprising list.

Marcia Machado
Marcia Machado6 years ago


rene davis
irene davis6 years ago

thank you.