What are aromatics used and how do they improve our quality of life?

High technology: no CDs without aromatics

CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs have invaded our homes. We use them to play music, store data, install computer software or watch films; they are strong, reliable – and relatively cheap, considering the amount of information they can hold.


When CDs appeared on the market people thought they looked more like an object out of space. Actually, a CD is made of the most common petrochemical-based product: it is a simple piece of plastic, about 4/100 inch, or 1.2 mm thick. Most of a CD consists of an injection-molded piece of clear polycarbonate: a plastic derived from benzene, through bisphenol A and cumene. This polycarbonate is impressed with microscopic bumps arranged as an extremely long spiral track of data, then covered with a thin aluminum layer. Then a thin acrylic layer is sprayed over the aluminum to protect it. The label is then printed onto the acrylic... and slipped into a polystyrene "jewel box", these transparent, plastic boxes in which CDs usually come. Aromatics are needed from beginning to end of the process!

CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, computer casings, keyboards, mobile telephones... All rely heavily on aromatics-derived plastics.

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