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The Organic Chemicals

  • Merril Eisenbud
Chapter

Abstract

The organic chemical industry has played an important role in producing the drugs that protect us from many diseases, the pesticides and herbicides that have increased agricultural yields, and the many forms of plastics that provide us with inexpensive durable fabrics, furniture, floor coverings, and a myriad of other products we encounter in our daily lives. Hundreds of thousands of new chemicals have been produced, and many of these have found their way to the market place. They include highly specialized pharmaceuticals manufactured by the ounce, and products such as synthetic rubber, and some products derived from petroleum that are produced in hundred-ton quantities. The synthetic organic chemicals have been produced at an exponentially increasing rate since World War II, from a little more than 2.5 million tons in 1940 to about 90 million tons in 1970. (See Figure 9-1.)

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Notes

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© New York University 1978

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  • Merril Eisenbud

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