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10 Most Surprising Places to Find Petroleum

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

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Green, Home, , ,

By Rachel Cernansky, Planet Green

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Megan, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.


+ add your own
4:03PM PDT on Apr 1, 2014


2:17PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

not all that surprising--thanks!!!

11:37AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011


12:31PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

Noted with thanks.

9:23AM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Great article you've written, is this your first website blog or have you been doing this a while? I'd be interested in reading some more of your things. Links please?

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11:30AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

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

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8:57AM PDT on Jul 7, 2011

it is not a real suprising list.

4:03AM PDT on Jul 7, 2011


7:45PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

thank you.

12:42PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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