Average Annual Growth Rate


Alkylamines & Derivatives sector groups


See Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene


An aldehyde used as a starting material in the synthesis of acetic acid, n-butyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, and other chemical compounds.


A salt or ester of acetic acid.

Acetic Acid

Acetic acid is a key organic intermediate used in the preparation of metal acetates, used in some printing processes; vinyl acetate; acetic anhydride, and volatile organic esters, such as ethyl and butyl acetates

Acetic anhydride

The most important of the organic anhydrides, used to manufacture pain-relieving pharmaceuticals (aspirin, paracetamol), modified starches, emulsifiers, liquid crystal polymers, dyestuffs and cellulose acetate, a major ingredient in photographic films and textiles.


An organic solvent of industrial and chemical significance, acetone is capable of dissolving many fats, resins and cellulose esters. It is used extensively in the manufacture of artificial fibres and explosives, as a chemical intermediate in pharmaceuticals, and as a solvent for vinyl and acrylic resins, lacquers, paints, inks, cosmetics (such as nail polish remover), and varnishes. It is used in the preparation of paper coatings, adhesives, and is also employed as a starting material in the synthesis of many compounds.


Any chemical compound with an acetate group.


Any substance that in water solution tastes sour, changes the colour of certain indicators, promotes certain chemical reactions, etc.. Examples of acids include inorganic substances such as sulfuric, nitric, and phosphoric acids, and organic compounds such as citric or maleic acid.

Acrylate elastomer

In latex paints, textile applications (backcoating), emulsion polymers for paper coating; as pulp additives, in floor polishes & sealants (resinous & polymeric coatings), in adhesives.

Acrylic acid

Acrylic acid and the basic alkyl esters (methyl, ethyl, butyl and 2-ethylhexyl esters) are important monomers used for the manufacture of polymer dispersions, adhesives, flocculants, detergents, varnishes, fibres and plastics as well as chemical intermediates.

Acrylic esters

When polymerized, acrylic esters, esters derived from acrylic acid, are the film-forming components of acrylic paints, coatings, textiles, adhesives, plastics and other applications.

Acrylic fibres

Acrylic fibres are artificial, thermoplastic fibres made from acrylonitrile. Fabrics produced from acrylic fibres wash and dry easily


Acrylonitrile is a chemical intermediate used in acrylic fibres, ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), SAN (styrene-acrylonitrile) and NBR (nitrile-butadiene-rubber).

Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS)

ABS is a tough, heat-resistant and impact-resistant thermoplastic, the acrylonitrile providing heat resistance, and the styrene units giving rigidity. It is widely used for appliance and telephone housings, luggage, sporting helmets, pipe fittings and automotive parts.


In many plastic products, the polymer is only one constituent. In order to arrive at a set of properties appropriate to the product, the polymer is almost always combined with other ingredients, or additives, which are mixed in during processing and fabrication. Among these additives are impact modifiers, colorants, reinforcements, plasticisers and stabilisers. See also plastics and conversion.


Association for Emissions Control by Catalyst, an association affiliated to Cefic.


A chemical, such as a hormone, fungicide, or insecticide, that improves or protects the production of crops.


Automotive Grade Urea. Their producers are regrouped in the AGU sector group.


Alcohols are amongst the most common organic compounds. Well-known alcohols include methanol (methyl alcohol, or wood alcohol), ethanol (ethyl alcohol, or grain alcohol) and isopropyl alcohol (the common alcohol known as rubbing alcohol and used as a germicide). Alcohols are also valuable as intermediates in the synthesis of other compounds.


An important starting material and intermediate in organic synthesis. Many aldehydes of industrial significance are used as solvents, perfumes, and flavouring agents or as intermediates in the manufacture of plastics, dyes, and pharmaceuticals.


Any organic compound in which the main structure is a chain of carbon atoms joined to each other.

Alkyl benzene

One of the most important organic raw material for the production of synthetic detergents.


Alkylamines are chemical intermediates. They are colourless highly flammable gases, making careful handling essential at all stages of their production, transport and use. The end-uses of derivatives of the alkylamines cover a great variety of applications, such as detergents, agrochemicals, feed additives, pharmaceuticals, solvents, pulp & paper processing, flocculants, PU catalysts, explosives, etc


Olefins such as propylene and butylene are produced by catalytic and thermal cracking. Alkylation refers to the process using sulfuric or hydro-fluoric acid as a catalyst to combine these olefins with isobutane to produce a high octane product known as alkylate.


Alkylphenol is produced using phenol as a starting material. It is mainly used as a stabiliser for rubbers and plastics, as a surfactant, as an industrial detergent, and in the mining and textile industries.


Amines are major industrial commodities used in making rubber, dyes, pharmaceuticals, and synthetic resins and fibres and in a host of other applications.


The Amines Sector Group includes producers of ethylene amines and ethanol amines.


Any chemical compound obtained, either in practice or in principle, by the elimination of water from another compound.


An organic base used to make dyes, drugs, explosives, plastics, and photographic and rubber chemicals. Aniline owes its name to the indigo-yielding plant, Indigofera anil, from the distillation of which aniline was first obtained.


Anthracene is a solid polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon consisting of three benzene rings derived from coal tar. Anthracene is used in the artifical production of the red dye alizarin. It is also found in some coal tar oils which are used for example as wood preservatives, insecticides and coating materials.


Aromatics Producers Association, a sector group of Petrochemicals Europe.


Latin American Petrochemical Association


Appe -Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe- is the former name of Petrochemicals Europe.


Aromatics, so called because of their distinctive perfumed smell, are a group of hydrocarbons including, mainly, benzene, toluene and the xylenes. These are basic chemicals used as starting materials for a wide range of consumer products. Almost all aromatics come from crude oil, although small quantities are made from coal.


Acetyls Sector Group
. A sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


A dark-brown-to-black cement-like material obtained by petroleum processing and containing bitumen as the predominant constituent.

Associated gases

Associated gas is an emulsion produced from saturated crude oil.


Technical Committee of Petroleum Additive Manufacturers in Europe, an affiliate of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


The smallest unit into which matter can be divided without the release of electrically charged particles, and also the smallest unit of matter that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by ordinary chemical processes. Hence the atom is the basic building block of chemistry. Atoms, also called chemical elements, can combine with one another to form compounds.


See Best Available Techniques


BDO deals with 1,4 butanediol, gammabutyrolactone (GBL), tetrahydrofuran (THF), N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), N-ethylpyrrolidone (NEP) and 2-pyrrolidone. Their major producers are regrouped in the BDO & Derivatives sector group.


Benzene is the simplest aromatic compound, with a ring of six carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms. It is a colourless liquid occurring naturally in fossil raw materials such as crude oil and coal, produced during processing of petroleum liquids and through chemical reactions. It is one of the most important feedstocks for the chemical industry, used for the manufacture of a wide range of everyday items, and is not itself used directly by consumers. More…

Best Available Techniques (BAT)

The EU Directive (96/61 EC) on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) allows local authorities to grant environmental permits to process industries, including new and existing petrochemical and chemical installations. The final permit sets Emission Limit Values (ELVs) that are defined on the basis of the Best Available Techniques (BAT). These BATs are a reference point against which to judge the current performance of an existing installation or to judge a proposal for a new installation. They result from an exchange of information between the European Commission, member states, industry and NGOs.

Best Available Techniques (BAT)

The EU Directive (96/61 EC) on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) allows local authorities to grant environmental permits to process industries, including new and existing petrochemical and chemical installations. The final permit sets Emission Limit Values (ELVs) that are defined on the basis of the Best Available Techniques (BAT). These BATs are a reference point against which to judge the current performance of an existing installation or to judge a proposal for a new installation. They result from an exchange of information between the European Commission, member states, industry and NGOs.


Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment


APPE Business Intelligence Committee.


Biofuels are gas or liquid fuel (alcohols, ethers, esters, and other chemicals) made from plant material, agricultural and forestry residues, and a large portion of municipal solid and industrial waste. Biofuels include material as diverse as wood, wood waste, peat, wood sludge, agricultural waste, stray, sludge waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gases… Biofuels for transportation include bioethanol, biodiesel, biomethanol, and pyrolysis oils.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

An industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic used for structural parts, impact-resistant glazing, street-light globes, household appliance parts, components of electrical/electronic devices, compact discs, automotive applications, reusable bottles, food and drink containers, and many other products. It is also used in the production of epoxy resins for coatings, food and beverage can linings, electrical laminates, composites and adhesives, and in other products.


See Bisphenol A


BAT Reference Documents, prepared by a European IPPC Bureau in Seville, in which BATs are defined.


The most commonly traded North Sea crude oil. Technically, it is a mix of crude from the UK Brent field and the Ninian field.


Benzene, toluene and xylenes.


Beratergrenium für Umweltrelevante Altstoffe (the German Advisory Committee on Existing Chemicals of Environmental Relevance)


A flammable gaseous olefin used in making synthetic rubbers. Butadiene rubber has now completely displaced natural rubber in the manufacture of automobile tyres.


Butanes are colourless, odourless, gaseous hydrocarbons. The compound in which the carbon atoms are linked in a straight chain is called normal butane, or n-butane; the branched-chain form is isobutane. Both occur in natural gas and in crude oil and are formed in large quantities in the refining of petroleum to produce gasoline.


An alcohol derived from butane and used as solvents and in organic synthesis.


See butylene

Butyl acetate

A volatile ester used as solvents for resins, lacquers, paints, and varnishes.

Butyl rubbers

Butyl rubbers are a type of synthetic rubber prepared by polymerization of butylenes. They are a preferred option in the manufacture of automobile tires thanks to their leak-proof qualities.


Also called butene, any of four isomeric compounds belonging to the series of olefinic hydrocarbons. They are formed during the cracking of petroleum to produce gasoline; they can also be prepared commercially by the catalytic dehydrogenation of butanes. The major part of the butenes is utilised for the production of octanes, which are important constituents of gasoline. On dehydrogenation, normal butenes form butadiene, the principal starting material for synthetic rubber.


Butyraldehyde is a clear, colourless, flammable liquid, used chiefly as an intermediate in the manufacture of resins.


C4 derivatives are among the main olefin products coming from the steam cracker, along with ethylene and propylene. Butadiene is the most valuable product from the C4 fraction.


One of the ingredients that are used to synthesise the most common nylon. Caprolactam is made from phenol.


Any member of a very abundant and widespread class of natural organic substances, compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, that includes the sugars, starch, and cellulose.


An element forming a large number of compounds, many of which have important uses. Diamond and graphite are amongst the main forms of carbon. Coals are elemental carbon mixed with varying amounts of carbon compounds; coke and charcoal are nearly pure carbon. All organic compounds, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, contain carbon, and all plant and animal cells consist of carbon compounds and their polymers.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A colourless, non-poisonous gas that is a normal part of the ambient air. Carbon dioxide is formed in combustion of fossil fuel and carbon-containing materials, in fermentation, and in respiration of animals and employed by plants in the photosynthesis of carbohydrates.


A substance which aids or promotes a chemical reaction without forming part of the final product. It enables the reaction to take place faster, remains unchanged at the end of the reaction and can provide control by increasing desirable reactions and decreasing undesirable reactions.

Catalytic cracking

The process of breaking up heavier hydrocarbon molecules into lighter hydrocarbon fractions by use of heat and catalysts. See also cracking.


Coal Chemicals Sector Group representing European producers of chemicals derived from coal tar distillation.


Cefic is the European Chemical Industry Council, the Brussels-based organisation representing national chemical federations and chemical companies of Europe. Cefic represents, directly or indirectly, more than 39,000 large, medium and small chemical companies in Europe, which employ about 2 million people and account for more than 30% of world chemical production.


European Committee for Standardisation


European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists’ Colours Industry, an association affiliated to Cefic.

Chemical element

See atom.

Chemical intermediate

A chemical intermediate is any substance generated by one step in a synthetic process and used for the succeeding step.

Chemical reaction

A chemical process in which substances are changed into different substances. Chemical reactions are manifested by the disappearance of properties characteristic of the starting materials and the appearance of new properties that distinguish the products. Examples of chemical reactions include burning of wood, fermentation of crops to make alcohol, tarnishing of silver, digestion of food and the synthesis of polystyrene plastics.


Chlorine, an inorganic chemical that can be obtained both naturally and synthetically, has a huge variety of uses, as a disinfectant and purifier, in plastics and polymers, solvents, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, as well as an intermediate in manufacturing other organic and inorganic substances. Chlorine is also used worldwide to purify water supplies as the ultimate defence against waterborne microbiological infection.


A colourless, liquid organic compound used as a solvent and starting material for the manufacture of other organic compounds, such as phenol.


See Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM)


UK Chemical Industries Association


Comité International de la Rayonne et des Fibres Synthétiques (International Rayon and Synthetic Fibres Committee)

Clean fuels

So-called clean fuels are among the instruments introduced by EU Member States to combat air pollution problems arising from increases in road transport. See Auto-Oil Programme.

Climate change

The term “climate change” is used to imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another. Sometimes, climate change is used synonymously with the term global warming; scientists however, tend to use the term in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate.


CLP is the new European Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemical substances and mixtures. The legislation introduces throughout the EU a new system for classifying and labelling chemicals, based on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System (UN GHS).


Common Market Organisation


See Carbon dioxide


A black or brownish black solid, combustible carbon-rich substance formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter without access to air. Coal is one of the most important of the primary fossil fuels. It is indispensable to life and constitutes humankind’s main source of energy.

Coal tar

Coal tar is a principal liquid product resulting from the carbonisation of coal, i.e. the heating of coal in the absence of air at temperatures ranging from about 900º to 1,200ºC (1,650º to 2,200ºF). Many commercially important compounds are derived from coal tar, such as dyestuffs and pigments.

Coal tar pitch

Coal tar pitch is the residue (approx 50%) of the coal tar distillation.


Comité de Liaison des Associations Européennes de l’Industrie de la Parfumerie, des Produits Cosmétiques et de Toilette (European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association) – now called “Cosmetics Europe”


A compound (or molecule) is a combination of two or more chemical elements (atoms) held together by chemical bonds.


The Oil Companies’ European Organisation for Environment, Health and Safety


In the plastics industry, conversion is the processing of raw materials into usable forms, e.g. the conversion of plastic pellets into films or the conversion of films into food containers. The steps involved include compounding (the mixing together of various raw materials, e.g. polymers and additives), melting and extruding, shaping and solidifying.


Community Rolling Action Plan (REACH)


Chemicals and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association (India)


The process of breaking down large molecules of oil into smaller ones. When this process is achieved by the application of heat only, it is known as thermal cracking. If a catalyst is used as well it is known as catalytic cracking. Cracking causes molecular decomposition and recombination to produce a range of more useful base chemicals. Cracking is the basic process taking place in crackers.

Crude oil

A mixture of comparatively volatile liquid hydrocarbons that occurs in the Earth’s crust and is extracted for use as fuel and various petroleum products. Typically, crude oil contains, in various percentages, a mixture of naphtha, kerosene, middle distillates and fuel oils.


Chemical Safety Report


Cumene is an aromatic derived from benzene and used in turn to produce polycarbonates, phenolic resins and essential healthcare products such as aspirin and penicillin.


Cyclohexane is an aromatic derived from benzene used as an intermediate to produce nylon.


Diethanolamine. See ethanolamine


Increasing production capacity of existing facilities through the modification of existing equipment to remove throughput restrictions. Debottlenecking generally increases capacity for a fraction of the cost of building new facilities.


Diethylene Glycol Butyl Ether.


Diethylene Glycol Butyl Ether Acetate.


An organic chemical reaction in which a pair of hydrogen atoms are removed from a molecule.


Diethylenetriamine. See ethyleneamines

Diethanolamine (DEA)

See ethanolamine

Diethylene glycol

Diethylene glycol is a colourless liquid used as a solvent and in the manufacture of unsaturated polyester resins, polyurethanes and plasticizers.

Diethylene glycol ether acetates

Glycol ethers are manufactured from either propylene oxide or ethylene oxide reacted with an alcohol. Glycol ethers and glycol ethers acetates are both hydrophilic (soluble in water) and lipophilic (soluble in oils). They are excellent co-solvents, enabling non-miscible substances to be mixed with each other. They are mainly used as solvents, plasticisers and brake fluids, and in the composition of products such as cleaning and household products, glues, inks etc..

Diethylene glycol ethers

Glycol ethers are manufactured from either propylene oxide or ethylene oxide reacted with an alcohol. Glycol ethers and glycol ethers acetates are both hydrophilic (soluble in water) and lipophilic (soluble in oils). They are excellent co-solvents, enabling non-miscible substances to be mixed with each other. They are mainly used as solvents, plasticisers and brake fluids, and in the composition of products such as cleaning and household products, glues, inks etc..

Diethylenetriamine (DETA)

See ethyleneamines

Dipropylene glycol

One member of the propylene glycols family, the most important of which is monopropylene glycol.

Dipropylene glycol ether acetate

Glycol ethers are manufactured from either propylene oxide or ethylene oxide reacted with an alcohol. Glycol ethers and glycol ethers acetates are both hydrophilic (soluble in water) and lipophilic (soluble in oils). They are excellent co-solvents, enabling non-miscible substances to be mixed with each other. They are mainly used as solvents, plasticisers and brake fluids, and in the composition of products such as cleaning and household products, glues, inks etc..

Dipropylene glycol ethers

Glycol ethers are manufactured from either propylene oxide or ethylene oxide reacted with an alcohol. Glycol ethers and glycol ethers acetates are both hydrophilic (soluble in water) and lipophilic (soluble in oils). They are excellent co-solvents, enabling non-miscible substances to be mixed with each other. They are mainly used as solvents, plasticisers and brake fluids, and in the composition of products such as cleaning and household products, glues, inks etc..


The liquid obtained through distillation.


The process of boiling a liquid and condensing and collecting the vapour. This process is used to purify liquids and to separate liquid mixtures. In the oil industry, distillation is used to separate crude oil, which is a mixture of hydrocarbons with different boiling temperatures, into groups of hydrocarbons that boil between two specified boiling points.


Dipropylene Glycol Ethyl Ether.


Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether.


European Basic Acrylic Monomer Group, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


European Climate Change Programme


Existing Chemicals Group


European Chemical Agency is the driving force among regulatory authorities in implementing REACH, the EU’s groundbreaking chemicals legislation , for the benefit of human health and the environment as well as for innovation and competitiveness.


European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates, a sector group of Cefic.


European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers


Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid. See Ethyleneamines


European Economic Community



European Flavour and Fragrance Association


European Fuel Oxygenates Association, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


See ethylene glycol


Ethylene Glycol Butyl Ether.


Ethylene Glycol Butyl Ether Acetate.


European IPPC Bureau


Emission Limit Value


European Melamine Producers Association, a sector group of Cefic.


European Maritime Safety Agency


See ethylene oxide


Environmental Protection Agency (USA)


Propylene Glycol Ethyl Ether Acetate


Ethylene Producers Committee


European Petrochemical Association


European Polymer Dispersion and Latex Association, a sector group of Cefic.

Epoxy resins

A flexible resin made using phenols and used chiefly in coatings, adhesives, electrical laminants and composites for its excellent adhesion, strength and chemical resistance.


European Phenolic Resins Association, an afficiliated sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


See expanded polystyrene


Ethyleneamines Product Stewardship Discussion Group


Exposure Scenario


European Solvent Volatile Organic Compounds Co-ordination Group, a cross industry group of solvents producers, users’ trade associations and national chemical associations aiming to address the VOC Directive.


An extended Safety Data Sheet for a substance is an SDS with at least one exposure scenario (ES) included in the annex.


European Solvents Industry Group, a group within the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE) gathering manufacturers and users of oxygenated and hydrocarbon solvents.


European Stabilisers Producers Association, a sector group of Cefic.


European Synthetic Rubber Association, an affiliate of Cefic.


Any of a class of organic compounds made from the chemical reaction between an alcohol and an organic acid.


A chemical reaction resulting in the formation of at least one ester product.




A gaseous hydrocarbon, the second most important constituent of natural gas, it also occurs dissolved in petroleum oils and as a by-product of oil refinery operations and of the carbonisation of coal. Ethane is a major raw material for the huge ethylene petrochemical industry, which produces such important products as polyethylene plastic, ethylene glycol, and ethyl alcohol.


Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol is manufactured by synthesis from ethylene. It is an oxygenated hydrocarbon used in a wide variety of high performance solvent applications (toiletries and cosmetics, paints, lacquer thinners, printing inks, dyes, detergents, disinfectants and pharmaceuticals), as a chemical raw material for the production of a range of monomers and solvents, and is essential in pharmaceutical purification. In transportation, ethanol is used as a vehicle fuel by itself, blended with gasoline, or as a gasoline octane enhancer and oxygenate.


Ethanolamines are prepared by the reaction of ammonia and ethylene oxide. They include monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). The three are widely used in industry, principally as absorbents for acidic components of natural gas and of petroleum-refinery gas streams. MEA is mainly used as the raw material to produce ethyleneamines. It is also used to make detergents, metalworking fluids, and as gas sweetening. DEA is mainly used as gas sweetening and in agrochemicals. TEA is used in detergents and cosmetics applications and as a cement additive.


See ethylene


Ethers, like alcohols and phenols are oxygenated derivatives. An ether has two hydrocarbon groups bonded to the oxygen atom. Diethyl ether (also called simply ether) is the most common variety. It is widely used as a solvent and as a volatile, combustible starting fluid for engines. Methyl-tert-buthyl-ether (MTBE) is used in gasoline to boost the octane rating and to decrease the toxic emissions in the exhaust.

Ethyl acetate

A volatile ester used as solvents for resins, lacquers, paints, and varnishes.

Ethyl acrylate

Ethyl acrylate is a colourless liquid used in the production of polymers, water-based latex paints and adhesives, textile and paper coatings, leather finish resins, and in the production of acrylic fibres

Ethyl alcohol

See ethanol

Ethyl hexanol

2-Ethyl hexanol (2EH) is an higher aliphatic alcohol.. 2EH is also used as a solvent and has a particular niche use in the formation of lacquers and coatings when slow evaporation is desired.


Ethylbenzene is formed by combination of ethylene and benzene, and is then dehydrogenated to styrene for use in the production of plastics and synthetic rubber.


Also called ethene, ethylene is the simplest member of the olefinic hydrocarbon series and one of the most important raw materials of the organic chemical industry. It occurs in both petroleum and natural gas, but the bulk of the industrial material is produced by heating of higher hydrocarbons. Ethylene can be polymerised to the plastic material polyethylene, reacted with oxygen to give ethylene oxide, or with benzene to give ethylbenzene.

Ethylene dichloride

Liquid, most commonly used in the production of vinyl chloride monomer, starting material for chlorinated solvents such as 1,1,1-trichloroethane, vinylidene chloride, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene, solvent for processing pharmaceutical products, solvent for fats, oils, waxes, gums, resins, and particularly for rubber

Ethylene glycol (EG)

Generic term for a family of ethylene glycols, the most important of which is monoethylene glycol.

Ethylene oxide (EO)

Ethylene oxide (EO) is a chemical intermediate used in the manufacture of glycol ethers, ethoxylates and ethylene glycol. Ethylene oxide derivatives have a wide range of applications, from detergents and cosmetics to antifreeze; they are also used in the manufacture of man-made fibres, brake fluids and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


Ethyleneamines are organic compounds essential in the manufacture of a wide range of products from detergents, paints and fuel oils to pharmaceuticals, soaps, asphalt and paper. Ethyleneamines include ethylenediamine (EDA), diethylenetriamine (DETA) and higher amines. EDA is used to produce TAED (tetraacetylethylenediamine) and EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid), and in fungicides. DETA is mainly used as an epoxy curing agent and in the production of wet strength resins for paper. Higher amines are used to make additives for lubricating oils, engine fuels and asphalt.

Ethylenediamine (EDA)

See Ethyleneamines

Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA)

See Ethyleneamines


Emission Trading Scheme


European Union


European Printing Ink Association


European Petroleum Industry Association


European Extruded Polystyrene Insulation Board Association, a sector group of Cefic.

Existing chemicals

Chemical substances, which were deemed to be on the European Community market between 1 January 1971 and 18 September 1981. An “existing” chemical substance is in the EU defined as any chemical substance listed in the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Substances (EINECS), an inventory containing 100,195 substances. The Regulation 793/93 foresees that the evaluation and control of the risks posed by existing chemicals will be carried out in four steps: data collection, priority setting, risk assessment and risk reduction. Any chemical substance marketed after 18 September 1981 is called a new chemical. For more information, visit the European Chemicals Bureau.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS)

Expanded polystyrene, manufactured from styrene, is a thermal plastic material supplied to moulders in the form of a polystyrene bead. The beads, which contain a blowing agent, are processed and moulded into low-density foam articles, such as protective packaging, foam insulation and building and construction.

Exposure assessment

The exposure assessment is the determination of the emissions in order to estimate the concentrations/doses of a substance to which human populations or environmental spheres (water, soil and air) are or may be exposed.

Extruded polystyrene (XPS)

Extruded polystyrene, manufactured from styrene, is a thermal plastic material manufactured by a variety of extrusion processes. Polystyrene foam board and extruded foam sheet have properties that make it a frequent choice for thermal insulation, sheathing, roofing and building and construction application.


See Fluid Catalytic Cracking


European Flexible Packaging Federation


Raw material used in a processing plant. The most important feedstock for the European petrochemical industry is naphtha.


Association of European Adhesives Manufacturers, an affiliate of Cefic.


Substance that adds inorganic or organic plant nutrients to soil and improves its ability to grow crops, trees, or other vegetation.


See Unsaturated polyester resins


Flocculants are products used in waste treatment to separate unwanted components from water and sludge.

Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC)


An organic compound, the lowest in the chain of the aliphatic aldehydes, used in large amounts in a variety of chemical manufacturing processes. It is produced principally by the vapour-phase oxidation of methanol. Large quantities of formaldehyde are used in the manufacture of phenol-, urea- and melamine-formaldehyde resins, or formaldehyde polymers (acetal-resins), and polyurethane plastics.

Fossil fuel

A general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials occurring within the Earth’s crust, that can be used as a source of energy. They all contain carbon and were formed as a result of geologic processes from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil, coal, natural gas, or heavy oils hundreds of millions of years ago.


In the oil industry, fraction refers to one of the portions of fractional distillation having a restricted boiling range.


A material used to produce heat or power by burning.

Fuel oxygenate

Oxygenates are compounds containing oxygen in a chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Today, oxygenates are blended into gasoline in two forms: alcohols or ethers. Ethanol is the most commonly used alcohol oxygenate; methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether, or MTBE, is the most commonly used ether oxygenate. Fuel oxygenates are used in gasoline to boost the octane rating and to decrease the toxic emissions in the exhaust. For more information visit the Fuel Oxygenates website.


An intermediate distillate product used for diesel fuel, heating fuel and sometimes as feedstock.


Also called gas or petrol, gasoline is a mixture of volatile, flammable liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum, with or without small quantities of additives, and used as motor fuel. It is also used as a solvent for oils and fats.


Gross Domestic Product


See Glycol ether


Generic Exposure Scenarios for solvents.


Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The GHS is a system for standardizing and harmonizing the classification and labelling of chemicals.

Glass Reinforced Plastics

See Unsaturated polyester resins


Any of a class of organic compounds belonging to the alcohol family; in the molecule of a glycol, two hydroxyl (OH) groups are attached to different carbon atoms. The term is often applied to the simplest member of the class, ethylene glycol. See ethylene glycol and propylene glycol.

Glycol ether (GE)

Glycol ethers are manufactured from either propylene oxide or ethylene oxide reacted with an alcohol. They are mainly used as solvents, plasticisers and brake fluids.


Global Petrochemical Competitive Analysis.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases (GH) are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and antropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelenghts within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds.


Glass Reinforced Plastics. See Unsaturated polyester resins


General System of Preferences


The hazard associated with a chemical is its intrinsic ability to cause an adverse effect. It should be compared to risk, which is the chance that such effects will occur. Whilst a chemical may have hazardous properties, provided it is handled safely under contained conditions, any risk to human health or the environment is extremely low.


Hydrocarbon Solvents Consortium


See High-density polyethylene


Harmonised Electronic Data Set. The European Council Regulation (EEC) 793/93 requires producers and importers of chemical substances to submit to the European Commission data concerning a number of chemicals, if the production or import volume exceeds certain limits. This serves to evaluate and control the risks of existing substances. The data must be supplied on computer readable diskettes written with the HEDSET, or Harmonised Electronic Data Set, program.


See Hydrofluorocarbons

High Production Volume chemicals (HPV)

High Production Volume chemical, defined by the European Chemicals Bureau as a chemical being produced or imported in quantity of at least 1000 tonnes per year in EU by at least one Industry.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

A plastic that is used predominantly in the manufacture of blow-molded bottles for milk and household cleaners and injection-molded pails, bottle caps, appliance housings, and toys.

Higher amines

See Ethyleneamines

Higher olefins

Higher olefins are hydrocarbons that have chains of up to 20 or more carbonatoms, and are converted to products such as plastics, plasticizers, and other high value chemicals.

HPV Programme

A global initiative launched by the global chemical industry to demonstrate to regulators and the general public the feasability of timely risk assessments of High Production Volume chemicals.


Health, Safety and Environment


Hydrocarbon Solvent Producers Association, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


An organic compound that consists exclusively of the elements carbon and hydrogen. Generally, the term hydrocarbon is used for the chemicals that are derived from natural gas, oil and coal.


International Agency for Research on Cancer


Intermediate Bulk Container


International Council of Chemical Associations


Industrial Emission Directive


International Hydrocarbon Solvents Consortium


International Labour Organisation


Inorganic is said of any substance in which two or more chemical elements other than carbon are combined. Every chemical is either inorganic or organic.


A chemical intermediate is any substance generated by one step in a synthetic process and used for the succeeding step.


Institute of Occupational Medicine


Isopropyl acetate


International Petrochemical Information Forum


EU Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (see Best Available Techniques)


International Styrene Information Forum.


See butane


Isobutanol is a colourless, flammable organic compound classified as an alcohol. As such, it is widely used as a solvent in chemical reactions and as a starting material for organic synthesis.

Isobutyl acetate

Isobutyl acetate is a common solvent, produced from the esterification of isobutanol with acetic acid.


Isobutylene is used in organic synthesis and in the production of high octane aviation gasoline. Its main use is in the production of butyl rubber where it comprises 98% of the raw material used.


Two or more substances that have identical molecular formulas but different molecular structures or configurations, and hence different properties, are called isomers. Isomers differ only in the arrangement of their component atoms.


The chemical process by which a compound is transformed into any of its isomeric forms, i.e., forms with the same chemical composition but with different structure or configuration and, hence, generally with different physical and chemical properties. An example is the conversion of n-butane to its branched-chain isomer, isobutane, by heating the butane to 100° C or higher in the presence of a catalyst.


The European Isocyanate Producers Association, an affiliate of Cefic.


Isophorone is a clear liquid that can be dissolved in water. It is an industrial chemical used extensively as a solvent in some printing inks, paints, lacquers, adhesives, vinyl resins, copolymers, coatings, finishes, and pesticides, in addition to being used as a chemical intermediate.


Isopropanol is a major component of rubbing alcohols. Isopropanol is a secondary alcohol. It is one of the cheapest alcohols and has replaced ethanol for many uses because of its similar solvent properties. Isopropanol was formerly obtained largely by catalytic reduction of acetone ; oxidation of isopropanol is now the major source of acetone.

Isopropyl acetate

Isopropyl Acetate is a fast evaporating, mild odor solvent that is miscible with most common organic solvents and has properties intermediate between ethyl and butyl acetates. Isopropyl acetate can be used as surfactant in cleaning fluids, coatings, coatings for automotive, coatings for plastic, nail care, printing inks, solvents for cosmetics and personal care, and solvents for fragrances.


International Uniform Chemical Information Database. IUCLID is a software application to capture, store, maintain and exchange data on intrinsic and hazard properties of chemical substances.


An important starting material and intermediate in organic synthesis. Many ketones of industrial significance are used as solvents, perfumes, and flavouring agents or as intermediates in the manufacture of plastics, dyes, and pharmaceuticals.

Latex (pl. latices)

A water emulsion of a synthetic rubber or plastic obtained by polymerisation and used especially in coatings, paints and adhesives. Latices include a binder dispersed in the water and form films by fusion of the plastic particles as the water evaporates. Properties of these films, such as hardness, flexibility, toughness, adhesion, colour retention, and resistance to chemicals, depend on the composition of the plastic.


Life Cycle Assessment


See Low-density polyethylene

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)

A plastic that is used predominantly in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency. LLDPE is the preferred resin for injection moulding because of its superior toughness and is used in items such as grocery bags and garbage bags.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)

Ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, normal butane, butylene, and isobutane produced at refineries or natural gas processing plants, including plants that fractionate new natural gas plant liquids.


See Linear low-density polyethylene


Lower Olefins Sector Group, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

A plastic that is used predominantly in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency. Typically, LDPE is used to manufacture flexible films such as those used for plastic retail bags and garment dry cleaning and grocery bags. LDPE is also used to manufacture some flexible lids and bottles, and it is widely used in wire and cable applications for its stable electrical properties and processing characteristics.

Lower olefin

See Olefins


See Liquid Petroleum Gas


Large Volume Organic Chemicals


Maximale ArbeitsplatzKonzentrationen (maximal occupational exposure concentrations)


Monoethanolamine. See ethanolamine


See Monoethylene glycol


Methyl ethyl ketone


Meta-xylene is an isomer of mixed xylene. It is used as an intermediate in the manufacture of polyesters for coatings, inks, reinforced plastics, and packaging applications.


A colourless, odourless, flammable gas that occurs abundantly in nature as the chief constituent of natural gas, as a component of firedamp in coal mines, and as a product of the decomposition of organic matter. Methane is used as a fuel and as a starting material in chemical synthesis.


Methanol, a colourless alcohol, is a chemical used in the production of formaldehyde, acetic acid and methyl methacrylate (MMA), and is used as a solvent in many applications. It is also used to produce MTBE.

Methyl methacrylate (MMA)

Methyl methacrylate is a chemical derived from propylene, used for the manufacture of polymethyl methacrylate and also for polymer dispersions and other resins.

Methyl-tert-butyl-ether (MTBE)

Methyl-tert-butyl-ether (MTBE) is used in gasoline to boost the octane rating and to decrease the toxic emissions in the exhaust. As an octane enhancer, MTBE delivers high octane numbers at relatively low cost. A direct effect of the use of MTBE is the reduction of both “regulated” emissions (CO, unburned hydrocarbons) and “unregulated” emissions (e.g. ground-level ozone).
Visit the fuel oxygenates website.


Methylamines (mono-, di- and tri) and their derivatives are alkaline substances that are produced by reacting amonia and methanol, in the gas phase at high temperatures and high pressure. Methylamines are available as anhydrous liquefied gases and as aqueous solutions.


According to CLP definition, “mixture” means a solution composed of two or more substances which do not react . Note : Mixture and preparation are synonymous


See Methyl methacrylate


APPE Monthly Monitoring of Monomers. APPE is a major group within the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


Chemical combination of two or more atoms of the same chemical element (such as O2 – which is Oxygen) or different chemical elements (such as H2O – which is water).

Monoethanolamine (MEA)

See ethanolamine

Monoethylene glycol (MEG)

Monoethylene glycol is a colourless, oily liquid produced commercially from ethylene oxide. It is widely used as antifreeze in automobile cooling systems and in the manufacture of man-made fibres, low-freezing explosives, and brake fluid.


A molecule that can combine with others to form a polymer.

Monopropylene glycol (MPG)

Monopropylene glycol is produced by reacting propylene oxide with water. Monopropylene glycol is widely used for its solvent properties in the pharmaceutical, food, flavour and personal care industries. It is more widely used as an anti-freeze/de-icer, grinding aid, heat transfer fluid, component in hydraulic fluids, humectant, and surface coating industries.


Pharmaceutical grade monopropylene glycol


Methacrylates Sector Group, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


See Methyl-tert-butyl-ether. Visit the EFOA website.


See butane


N-Butanol is a liquid alcohol, which is an important solvent for resins and lacquers. It is also used as raw materials for glycol ethers and acetate esters.


Butenes are formed during the cracking of petroleum to produce gasoline; they can also be prepared commercially by the catalytic dehydrogenation of butanes.


Naphtha is a petroleum distillate containing principally aliphatic hydrocarbons. It is the primary source from which petrochemicals are derived.


Naphthalene is a crystalline white solid hydrocarbon, with the empirical formula C10H8. It is volatile, forming a flammable vapor. It is predominantly manufractured from coal tar, and can be converted to phthalic anhydride for the manufacture of plastics, dyes (pigments) and solvents. Naphtalene used to be the intermediate for production of indigo-blue which was the dye to color the jeans. Naphtalene is also an intermediate for the production for chemicals in the leather industry. One of the major applications of naphtaline nowadays is a sulfonated form which is used as a fluidizer in concrete and gypsum improving flowability of the concrete mixture and ultimatelly increasing strength of the concrete structure. A more specific application of naphtalene is the use of it as a buildingblock to produce a synthetic lubricant for car-engines.It is also used as an antiseptic and insecticide, especially in mothballs.

Natural gas

Colourless, highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane, ethane, and small amounts of heavier gaseous hydrocarbon compounds such as propane. Ethane and propane, also called natural gas liquids (NGL), are converted into ethylene and propylene by steam cracking. It is a type of petroleum that commonly occurs in association with crude oil.


See Nitrile-butadiene-rubber


Nederlands Normalisatie-Instituut


Natural gas liquids. See natural gas.


Non-Governmental Organisation

Nitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR)

A synthetic rubber used in many applications, including the automotive industry.


National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (USA)


A synthetic plastic material derived from benzene. Nylon can be used to form fibres, filaments, bristles, or sheets to be manufactured into yarn, fabric, and cordage; and it can be formed into moulded products. Nylon is tough, elastic and strong, and it has high resistance to wear, heat, and chemicals. It is generally known in the form of fine filaments in such articles as hosiery and sports equipment, e.g. parachutes; but its applications also include engineering plastics for cars, toys, healthcare products, carpets, roller-blade wheels, ship sails and parachutes.

Occupational exposure

The occupational exposure is a standard term that concerns adult workers in good health, with a possible exposure of 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, 11 months per year. See exposure.


For a gasoline engine to work efficiently, gasoline must burn smoothly without premature detonation, or knocking. Severe knocking can dissipate power output and even cause damage to the engine. When gasoline engines became more powerful in the 1920s, it was discovered that the most extreme knocking effect was produced by a fuel composed of pure normal heptane, while the least knocking effect was produced by pure isooctane. This discovery led to the development of the octane scale for defining gasoline quality.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Occupational Exposure Limit


Olefins are petrochemical derivatives produced by cracking feedstocks from raw materials such as natural gas and crude oil. Lower olefins have short chains with only two, three or four carbon atoms, and the simplest one is ethylene. The higher olefins have chains of up to twenty or more carbon atoms. The main olefin products are ethylene, propylene, butadiene and C4 derivatives. They are used to produce plastics, as chemical intermediates, and, in some cases, as industrial solvents.


Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

Organic chemicals

Organic chemicals are based on carbon compounds and form the backbone of the petrochemicals industry, while inorganic chemicals are non-carbon chemicals, such as chlorine, alkalis or hydrogen peroxide. Every chemical is either organic or inorganic.


Ortho-xylene is an isomer of mixed xylene. It is primarily used in plasticisers (primarily in flexible polyvinyl chloride – PVC – material), medicines and dyes.


Olefin Steering Committee (a sub-group of LOSG). LOSG is a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


Oxygenated Solvent Producers Association, a sector group of the Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe (APPE).


A chemical reaction with oxygen.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons


One of the forms of xylene, para-xylene is used to make polyesters, which have applications in clothing, packaging and plastic bottles. The most widely-used polyester is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used in lightweight, recyclable soft drinks bottles, as fibres in clothing, as a filling for anoraks and duvets, in car tyre cords and conveyor belts. It can also be made into a film that is used in video and audiotapes and x-ray films.
Visit the Aromatics Association website.


See Unsaturated polyester resins


See Polyethylene terephthalate


An organic compound that has been derived from petroleum or natural gas. There are almost 200 chemicals that can be so described and they include many simple hydrocarbons (e.g. methane, ethane), aromatic hydrocarbons (e.g. benzene, toluene), naphthenes and several of their derivatives.


A generic term applied to oil and oil products in all forms, such as crude oil, unfinished oils, petroleum products, natural gas plant liquids, and non-hydrocarbon compounds blended into finished petroleum products. See crude oil.


See Propylene glycol


Propylene Glycol Ethyl Ether.


Propylene Glycol Ethyl Ether Acetate.


Propylene Glycol Ethers Panel (USA)


Propylene Glycol Methyl Ether.


Propylene Glycol Methyl Ether Acetate


Phenanthrene is a crystalline polycyclic hydrocarbon isomeric to Anthracene. It is distilled from coal tar and is found in some coal tar oils which are used for example as wood preservatives and as carbon black feedstocks.


Phenol is an aromatic alcohol mainly used as an intermediate in organic synthesis. It essentially serves as a raw material for the production of bisphenol A, phenolic resins, alkylphenols and caprolactam.

Phenolic resin

Phenolic resins are manufactured from phenol. They are used in wood products and moulding powders applications, and also have a wide range of applications on the electrical, mechanical and decorative markets, in the automotive industry, in building and construction, in thermal insulation products and in foundry industry products.


Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are manufactured by the reaction of phthalic anhydride with one of a variety of alcohols ranging from methanol to tridecanol. They are predominantly used as plasticisers to soften the popular plastic PVC and to a lesser extent in non-PVC applications such as paints, rubber products, adhesives and some cosmetics.


Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan


Line of pipe equipped with pumps and valves and other control devices for moving liquids and gases. It is one of the main modes of transport for many chemicals, including olefins, the main building blocks of the petrochemical industry.


Petroleum Institute of Thailand


Any of numerous synthetic materials that consist of giant molecules called polymers, with extremely long chains of repeating units derived from short molecules. Plastics can be formed into products by moulding or otherwise shaping. The two major divisions of plastics are the thermosetting resins and thermoplastic resins. Raw materials for plastics include coal and cellulose, but by far the chief source is petroleum. Because of their easy manipulation, economical manufacture, low specific gravity, and resistance to corrosion, plastics have replaced metal, wood, glass, and other materials in many applications. An immense array of plastic industrial and consumer goods is available.


A plasticiser is a substance which when added to a material, usually a plastic, makes it flexible, resilient and easier to handle. Modern plasticisers are manmade organic chemicals; the majority of which are esters, such as adipates and phthalates. They are major components that determine the physical properties of polymer products. There are more than 300 different types of plasticisers; the most commonly used are phthalates.


Plastics Manufacturers Association, the plastics programme of Cefic.


See Polymethyl methacrylate


Petrochemicals Europe Market Research Committee.


See Propylene oxide


A family of thermoplastic engineering resins made by the polymerization of an acrylic compound such as methyl methacrylate.

Polycarbonate resins

Polycarbonate resins, derived from bisphenol A, are used for structural parts, impact resistant glazing, street-light bulbs, household appliance parts, components of electrical/electronic devices, automotive applications, reusable bottles, and food and drink containers. It is also a building block used to make epoxy resins for coatings, electrical laminants, composites and adhesives.


Polycarbonates are a particular group of thermoplastics.They are easily worked, molded, and thermoformed; as such, these plastics are very widely used in modern manufacturing. Polycarbonate is becoming more common in housewares as well as laboratories and in industry. It is often used to create protective features, for example in banks as well as vandal-proof windows and lighting lenses for many buildings


Any of a group of polymers that consist basically of repeated units of an ester and are used especially in making fibres or plastics. Polyesters can be made into woven and knitted fabrics, either alone or blended with other fibres; they also have industrial applications such as ropes, filters, conveyor belts, and tyre cords.


A polymer of ethylene, especially any of various lightweight thermoplastics that are resistant to chemicals and moisture, have good insulating properties, and are used especially in packaging and insulation.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is derived from xylene and is one of the most widely used industrial polyesters. It is used in lightweight, recyclable soft drink bottles, as fibres in clothing, as a filling for anoraks and duvets, in car tyre cords and conveyor belts. It can also be made into a film that is used in video and audio tapes and x-ray films.


Polyisobutylene is a synthetic rubber, or elastomer. It is special because it is that only rubber that is gas impermeable, that is, it is the only rubber which can hold air for long periods of time. Polyisobutylene, sometimes called butyl rubber is a vinyl polymer, and is very similar to polyethylene and polypropylene in structure.


When certain individual molecules (monomers) come together and link up in a chain-like fashion they form a polymer. The chemical reaction that forms a polymer is called polymerisation. There are natural polymers (often referred to as biopolymers), such as cellulose, certain rubbers and DNA, and synthetic polymers, such as polystyrene and fibreglass (see uPES). See also plastics, resins and rubber.

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is made from methyl methacrylate and is mainly used in the construction industry, lighting applications, signs, automotive and related areas, electronics and consumer-ware.


An organic molecule with three or more alcohol groups attached.


The collective name given to those polymers that are made from the lower olefins: ethylene, propylene, butylene and isoprene. The polyolefins are thermoplastic polymers.


Any of various thermoplastic plastics or fibres that are polymers of propylene. Polypropylene can be made into fibres, where it is a major constituent in fabrics for home furnishings such as upholstery and carpets. Numerous industrial end uses include rope and cordage, disposable non-woven fabrics for diapers and medical applications. As a plastic, polypropylene is moulded into bottles for foods and personal care products, appliance housings, dishwasher-proof food containers, toys, automobile battery casings, and outdoor furniture.


A solid plastic made from polymerised styrene and used in a wide variety of everyday applications, from coffee cups through to CD jewel boxes..


A synthetic compound derived from toluene, belonging to the family of organic polymers. Polyurethanes are used to make the foam in furniture, mattresses, car seats, building insulation, coatings for floors and furniture and refrigerators. They are also used in artificial sports tracks, jogging shoes, and in roller blade wheels.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

A polymer of vinyl chloride used to make a diverse range of cost-effective products with various levels of technical performance suited to a wide range of applications. Many of these PVC products are used everyday and include everything from medical devices such as medical tubing and blood bags, to footwear, electrical cables; packaging, stationery, and toys.


Public Private Partnership


A preparation is a mixture or a solution composed of two or more substances. This term is used in the European legislation.

Product Stewardship

Product Stewardship is the responsible and ethical management of the health, safety and environmental aspects of a product throughout its total life cycle. Product Stewardship is Responsible Care applied to products.


A colourless, gaseous hydrocarbon. It is separated in large quantities from natural gas, light crude oil, and oil-refinery gases and is commercially available as liquefied propane or as a major constituent of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). As with ethane, propane is an important raw material for the ethylene petrochemical industry. The decomposition of propane in hot tubes to form ethylene also yields another important product, propylene.


See propylene


Also called propene, a colourless, flammable, gaseous hydrocarbon obtained from petroleum; large quantities of propylene are used in the manufacture of resins, fibres, and plastics (see polyolefins), and numerous other chemical products.

Propylene glycol

Generic term for a family of propylene glycols, the most important of which is monopropylene glycol. visit the dedicated website.

Propylene glycol ethers

Propylene glycol ethers are formed from the base catalyzed reaction of propylene oxide with alcohols like methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol or phenol. For further information please visit the website.

Propylene glycol ethers acetates

Glycol ether acetates are clear liquids that often have a pleasant, fruity odour. For further information please visit the website.

Propylene oxide (PO)

Propylene oxide is a petrochemical used as a monomer in polymer production and as an intermediate in the synthesis of other substances. Propylene oxide is used as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of polyurethane foam, in propylene glycol and in other products used in speciality resins and solvents.


Polystyrene Packaging Council (USA)


See Polyvinyl chloride


Pygas, or pyrolysis gasoline, is a naphtha-range product with a high aromatic content, used either for gasoline blending or as a feedstock for a BTX extraction unit. Pygas is produced in an ethylene plant that processes butane, naphtha or gasoil.

Pyrolisis gasoline

See Pygas.


Risk Assessment Committee (REACH)


Reciprocal calculation procedure


European legislation on the Registration, Evalution, Authorization and Resctriction of Chemicals.


Conversion of crude oil into useful products, such as naphtha, the most important feedstock for the petrochemical industry. Every refinery begins with the separation of crude oil into different fractions by distillation. The fractions are further treated to convert them into mixtures of more useful products by various methods such as cracking, reforming, alkylation, polymerisation and isomerisation. These mixtures of new compounds are then separated using methods such as fractionation and solvent extraction.


The thermal or catalytic conversion of petroleum naphtha into more volatile products of higher octane number. It represents the total effect of numerous simultaneous reactions such as cracking, polymerisation, dehydrogenation, and isomerisation.


Any natural or synthetic organic compound consisting of a non-crystalline or viscous liquid substance. Natural resins are organic substances that are transparent or translucent, formed in plant secretions. Synthetic resins comprise a large class of synthetic products that have some of the physical properties of natural resins but are different chemically. Most synthetic resins are polymers. The term resin dates from the early years of the plastics industry; it originally referred to naturally occurring amorphous solids such as shellac and rosin. See also plastics.

Responsible Care

Responsible Care is the chemical industry’s commitment to continuous improvement in all aspects of health, safety and environment performance and to openness in communication about its activities and achievements.


Risk should be clearly distinguished from hazard. Risk is the chance that a given hazardous effect will occur. The use of fire by humans is an example of optimising the balance between hazard and risk, as fire, being extremely hazardous, must be used under carefully controlled conditions to keep risks to a minimum.

Risk Assessment

Substances on European priority lists must undergo an in-depth risk assessment covering the risks posed by the priority chemical to man (covering workers, consumers and man exposed via the environment) and the environment (covering the terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric eco-systems and accumulation through the food chain). This risk assessment follows the framework set out in European Commission Regulation (EC) 1488/94 and implemented in the detailed Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) on Risk Assessment for New and Existing Substances. The first draft of the risk assessment reports are written by the Member States which act as “rapporteurs”. The Commission mediates the meetings, which attempt to reach consensus on the conclusions of the risk assessments.


Return on Investment


Synthetic rubber, as opposed to natural rubber (obtained from the exudations of certain tropical trees), is derived from petroleum and natural gas. Because of its elasticity, resilience, and toughness, rubber is the basic constituent of the tires used in automotive vehicles, aircraft, and bicycles. Rubber is also used in electrical insulation, and because it is waterproof, it is a favoured material for shoe soles.


See Styrene-acrylonitrile


See Styrene-butadiene rubber


The Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limit Values (SCOEL) was set up by a Commission Decision with the mandate to advise the European Commission on occupational exposure limits for chemicals in the workplace.


Safety, Health and Environment


SIDS Initial Assessment Meeting – See HPV Programme


SIDS Initial Assessment Profile (SIAP) – See HPV Programme


SIDS Initial Assessment Report (SIAR) – See HPV Programme


Screening Initial Data Set Dossier – See HPV Programme


Substance Information Exchange Forum. A SIEF is a forum to share data and other information on a given substance. Participation in SIEF is obligatory to register a substance under REACH.


Styrene Information and Research Council (USA)


Small and medium-sized enterprise


A solvent is a liquid that has the ability to dissolve, suspend or extract other materials, without chemical change to the material or solvent. Solvents make it possible to process, apply, clean or separate materials. Water is an inorganic solvent. Organic solvents include hydrocarbon solvents, oxygenated solvents and chlorinated solvents.


Society of Plastics Industry (USA)


A stabiliser is a substance added to another substance to prevent an alteration of its physical state. Stabilisers are added to plastics so as to allow them to have a long and useful life in any application, by keeping their properties stable.

Steam cracking-Steam cracker

Steam cracking, a further application of thermal cracking, is a petrochemical process used to produce olefinic raw materials (e.g. propylene, ethylene) from various feedstocks for petrochemicals manufacture. The feedstocks range from ethane to vacuum gas oil, with heavier feeds giving higher yields of by-products such as naphtha. The most common feeds are ethane, butane, and naphtha.


Styrene is a clear, colourless liquid that is derived from petroleum and natural gas by-products, but which also occurs naturally. Styrene is used to create plastic materials used in a wide range of strong, flexible, and lightweight products. It is used in everything from food containers and packaging materials to cars, boats, and computers. Visit the Styrene Forum website.

Styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN)

SAN is a transparent, rigid styrenic plastic offering high chemical resistance, used mainly in the automotive, electrical and electronics industry, as well as in household applications and building products.

Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR)

SBR is a rubber manufactured from styrene. Because of its excellent abrasion resistance, it is widely used in automobile and truck tyres, as well as for carpet backing and paper coating. Other applications are in belting, flooring, wire and cable insulation, and footwear. Visit the Styrene Forum website.

Styrenic plastics

Plastics based on resins made by the polymerization of styrene or co-polymerization of styrene with other unsaturated compounds the styrene being in greatest amount by weight. Styrene plastics are easy to process and offer excellent price/performance ratios. Polystyrenes are used everywhere: as packaging materials or containers, and in a wide range of appliance and equipment housings.


Substance means a chemical element and its compounds in the natural state or obtained by any manufacturing process, including any additive necessary to preserve its stability and any impurity deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.


Polymers of acrylic acid, superabsorbent material is widely-used in personal care products to absorb fluids. It comes in the form of large particles, about the size of table salt, that are enclosed in the interior of the product, and helps to keep skin healthy and consumers comfortable. Superabsorbent material can absorb 100 times its weight in water.


Surfactants are products used as detergents, dispersing agents, emulsifiers, wetting agents, foaming or anti-foam agents, and solubilisers. They also constitute the raw material for the formulation of household products such as fabric detergents, shampoos, housecleaning products, as well as industrial auxiliary products for facilitating work in the manufacture of textile, flotation agents for ore, metal working, etc. They are used in other sectors of industry such as food processing, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals and public works.

Sustainable development

Humanity’s ability “to make development sustainable, i.e. to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The European chemical industry supports this position, as defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development established by the United Nations.


The production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds, or by the degradation of a complex compound

Synthetic rubbers

Synthetic rubbers are made of raw material derived from petroleum, coal, oil, natural gas, and acetylene. Many of them are copolymers, i.e., polymers consisting of more than one monomer.


Tetraacetylethylenediamine. See Ethyleneamine


Tertiary-amyl-methyl-ether. Visit the EFOA website.




Toluene di-isocyanate


Triethanolamine. See ethanolamine


Trans European Network



Tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED)

See Ethyleneamine

Thermal cracking

Thermal cracking is a petroleum refining process used to break up heavy oil molecules into lighter, more valuable fractions (e.g. gasoline, kerosene) by the use of high temperature without the aid of catalysts. It is used to convert gas oils into naphtha.


A plastic which is solid when cold, but which may flow and be re-formed multiple times with the application of heat. Some plastics are dissolved in solvents such as water (a latex) to aid their application.


Thermosets are a type of plastic that is the reaction product of two or more chemical compounds. While reacting and while still in a liquid shape thermoset plastics are moulded to form a wide variety of parts. Once the reaction is complete, thermoset plastics form durable solid articles (they “set”). Unsaturated polyester resins that are used to make glass reinforced plastics are an example of a thermoset plastic.


Toluene, a colourless liquid, is an aromatic hydrocarbon used extensively as starting material for the manufacture of industrial chemicals. Its major end-products are polyurethanes.
Visit the Aromatics Association website.

Tolune diisocyanate (TDI)

TDI is an isocyanate used in the production of polyurethanes for flexible foam applications ranging from furniture, bedding, and carpet underlay, to transportation and packaging. TDI is also used in the manufacture of coatings, sealants, adhesives, and elastomers

Triethanolamine (TEA)

See ethanolamine


Umweltbundesambt (German Federal Environment Bureau)


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Unsaturated polyester resins (PES, uPES, UPR or USPE)

Unsaturated polyester resins are durable, resinous polymers. They are used over a broad spread of industries, mainly the construction, boat building, automotive and electrical industries. In most applications they are reinforced with small glass fibres – hence these plastics are commonly referred to as GRP or Glass Reinforced Plastics.


See Unsaturated polyester resins


See Unsaturated polyester resins


US Pharmacopoeia


See Unsaturated polyester resins


See Vinyl acetate monomer


Value Added Tax


Vinyl Acetate Toxicology Group (USA)


See Vinyl chloride monomer

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM)

A colourless, liquid organic compound, employed in the production of plastics.

Vinyl chloride monomer (VCM)

A colourless, flammable gas, used principally in making synthetic resin. Also called chloroethylene.


See Volatile Organic Compound

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)

The term “Volatile organic compounds” refers to organic compounds that readily evaporate. VOCs include pure hydrocarbons, partially oxidised hydrocarbons, and organic compounds containing chlorine, sulphur or nitrogen. They are widely used as fuels (e.g., propane and gasoline), as paint thinners and solvents, and in the production of plastics. VOC emissions have to be carefully controlled so as not to contribute to air toxicity and urban smog.


World Health Organisation


World Trade Organisation


See extruded polystyrene


Xylene, a colourless liquid, is an aromatic hydrocarbon of which there are several forms. Xylenes are used as solvents, as components of aviation fuel, and as raw materials for the manufacture of dyes, fibres and films. Of the different forms of xylenes, paraxylene is commercially the most important. Visit the Aromatics Association website.