Have you ever heard of isopropanol? How about isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol?
You may know that isopropanol — rubbing alcohol — is the key active ingredient in certain hand sanitizers. While the world continues to battle the coronavirus (COVID-19), these hand sanitizers have been critical in limiting the spread of the virus. They provide a way to disinfect our hands regularly, which is essential for healthcare and front-line workers.
What you might not know is that propane is a key component in isopropanol — defining propane’s role in helping to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized the use of ethanol- and isopropanol-based hand sanitizers as nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), or preventive actions that can slow the spread of viruses, such as influenza and coronavirus. According to the CDC, “NPIs can be used in conjunction with available pharmaceutical interventions (antiviral medications) to help slow its transmission in communities, especially when a vaccine is not yet widely available.”
Propane produced here is used around the country and the world for products that keep us safe and healthy. In addition to isopropanol-based hand sanitizers, that includes the N95 masks, respirators and medical supplies that are so critical during this time. For example, our Marcus Hook neighbor, chemical company Braskem America, recently had a crew of more than 40 employees living and working at its Delaware County facility for nearly a month, so they could make polypropylene, which is used to make N95 masks, hospital gowns and sanitary wipes.
The versatility and importance of propane is good news for Pennsylvanians: Thanks to the ongoing shale revolution, an abundance of propane is now being produced in Pennsylvania and transported across the state through the Mariner East pipeline system. With various offtake points along the pipeline route, propane is sold to Pennsylvania customers for many uses:
- Affordable home heating (mitigating the impact of a future polar vortex)
- Water heating
- Indoor and outdoor cooking
- Clothes drying
- Vehicle fuel (increasingly powering Pennsylvania school bus fleets with cleaner fuel)
- Backup power
- Construction equipment
- Farm irrigation engines, crop drying, and pest and weed control
Besides being more affordable, using propane over alternative sources for each of these applications is often better for the environment.
Pennsylvania propane truly supports our personal, financial and environmental health, especially during this pandemic. For more information about propane resources in Pennsylvania, read here.
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