Chemical laboratory (© Moreno Soppelsa / Fotolia.com)
Chemical laboratory (© Moreno Soppelsa / Fotolia.com)

There is a huge market for chemicals. The chemical market includes performance chemicals, cosmetics, chemicals that are used in industry and much more. Chemicals are used as fertilizers and pesticides, they are used in hair products and they are used in hospitals. In short, chemicals are a huge part of every day life, so it should come as no surprise that this is such a massive industry. In this post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the chemicals market, how it is growing and precisely what it covers.

Every day, you will come into contact with countless chemicals. From the chemicals you might be using to clean your kitchen, to the chemicals that you use when you wash your face or apply skin cream. Chemicals were used to protect the crops that grew to become the food you had for lunch and breakfast. And chemicals are used in the manufacturing and operation of the vehicles you drive or ride to work. It should be no surprise then that the chemicals market is a huge and booming one. But what precisely does it entail? Just how big is it? And how is it growing?

The Chemicals Market At a Glance

Did you know that eleven of the 30 major chemicals producing companies are based in Europe? And that these chemicals generate sales of over 533 billion Euros currently? Some of the biggest markets within the larger chemicals market include the polymer market, performance chemicals, chemicals research and cosmetics.

Markets exist around the production of chemicals of course but also around their storage and even their clean-up. To demonstrate, let’s take a look at two industries that are related to the broader chemicals market.

Statistic: Market value of the leading chemical companies in Europe in 2015 (in million U.S dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Industries Relating to the Chemicals Market

Hazmat Training

Another industry relating to the chemical market is hazmat training. Many of us have heard of hazmat training, but few who are not in related industries are aware of what precisely 'hazmat' means. Essentially though it is very simple, with hazmat – or HazMat - simply being an abbreviation of 'hazardous materials'. Also known as 'dangerous goods', hazmat  is essentially any goods that require specially trained personnel in order to handle due to their dangerous nature – hence the need for hazmat training.

These can be solids, liquids, or gasses that are in some way harmful including materials which are flammable, explosive, asphyxiating, flammable, radioactive, poisonous, corrosive, acidic, biohazardous or allergenic among others.

OpenPr-Tip: This might mean they are dangerous to the people handling them, to other living organisms (for example oil slicks can be harmful to sea life), to property or to the environment. The idea of hazmat training then is to try to limit the damage done to people and the surrounding area by teaching those handling them to take certain precautions.

Hazmat training explains a Hazmat as falling somewhere on a diamond scale which describes the nature of the material and why it is dangerous. Here red denotes that the material is flammable, orange that it is explosive, green that it is a safe gas, yellow that it is oxidising etc. This system is quite comprehensive and can even be used in a more complex way to describe interactions between a combination of hazardous materials; for example mixing red (flammable), with yellow (gas) =  orange (explosive). This system was developed in France and is still taught in hazmat training today.

Hazmat training also involves learning to use specific safety precautions in storage, transport and handling of materials. This means wearing protective equipment such as protective suits and gas masks. Often those who deal with hazardous materials are also subject to careful monitoring and surveillance to ensure that they remain healthy and not contaminated, for example by radioactive materials. There are also many laws involved in the use of hazardous materials which need to be understood before they can be used.

Remediation

Environmental remediation is a service provided by many organisations for big businesses that work with pollutants, contaminants and other potential hazards. While the term is one that crops up regularly however, it is one that not everyone is familiar with, so what is environmental remediation?

The best way to find out is to break down the word into its constituent parts. The word is really made up of two words – 'environmental' and 'remediation'. Of course environmental means pertaining to the environment, while remediation essentially means 'remedy'. Thus the term environmental remediation actually meads clearing up pollution and contaminants and spill clean-up. Essentially for these businesses there is always the possibility of a spillage or an accident such as if an oil tanker were to leak or fall over, and in this case the business would need an environmental emergency response.

Here, the environmental services would come out as soon as possible to the site and begin spill clean-up. This might well mean using facilities such as vacuum truck services which involve a huge truck with an industrial sized vacuum attached. Vacuum truck services for instance could be used in oil spill clean-up or other liquids and would result in a far more efficient and rapid spill clean-up than the business could probably achieve on their own.

When you deal with environmental remediation services, you generally deal with a range of related terms. The term 'environmental media' refers to the surface that has been effected by the spillage and this of course effects how the spill clean-up can continue and which environmental services you specifically mean. Environmental media can include soil, ground water, surface water, sediment and more. The general purpose of the environmental remediation in any case is to be conducive to human health and to the environment and local wildlife and inhabitants.

There are also regulations and guidelines for environmental remediation. In the USA there are a set of 'Preliminary Remediation Goals' (RPGs, not to be confused with 'Role Playing Games') that are provided by the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Across the world there are also many other remediation standards used in other countries, such as the Dutch Standards often used in Europe. In Canada, provincial standards are used. This allows a company to use the best environmental services and rest assured that they are following largely agreed guidelines and thus will provide at least a minimal amount of remediation that will help the environment a certain amount.

Environmental remediation also won't always mean 'remediation' as such. A range of environmental services can actually be more preventative methods rather than cures. As the old adage goes – prevention is better than cure. This then means that environmental services do not always involve large scale spill clean-up or use vacuum truck services. Environmental remediation is yet another industry that contributes to the large chemicals market, a market which is showing no signs of slowing down.



         



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