What is a Chemical Corporation?

Mary McMahon

A chemical corporation is a company which manufactures chemicals and related products. Chemical corporations large and small can be found operating all over the world, making a wide range of products, from disinfectants to fertilizers. Staffing at such companies usually includes chemists, chemical engineers, and people in related fields who handle a diverse array of products. Chemical corporations are commonly subject to heavy government regulation, reflecting the danger of some of the products they work with.

Chemical corporations are involved in developing chemical compounds that can be used commercially.
Chemical corporations are involved in developing chemical compounds that can be used commercially.

Operations at a chemical operation can be quite varied. Some corporations specialize in particular families or types of chemicals, while others manufacture a broad range of products. Many chemical corporations are interested in research, hiring lab scientists to explore new chemicals and to find new uses for existing chemicals. This type of research also includes research into safety, with the goal of determining whether or not a chemical can be safely sold, and what kind of precautions should be recommended to people handling the chemical.

Some chemical corporations manufacture herbicides and pesticides.
Some chemical corporations manufacture herbicides and pesticides.

Manufacturing of chemicals takes place in dedicated facilities. Some common examples of chemicals made by a chemical corporation include: photo/film developing chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals used in plastics manufacturing, laboratory chemicals, chemicals utilized in construction, antibacterials, antimicrobials, and chemical components of various systems, ranging from liquid-cooled computers to hydraulic door openers. It is not uncommon for a chemical corporation to own a related company which uses its chemicals, or to own a partial share in such a company.

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Safety is a major concern at a chemical corporation. Chemical corporations want to manufacture chemicals which are effective, but they may also be concerned about the safety of such chemicals. Historically, chemicals were sometimes released imprudently or sold to members of the public without adequate warning, leading to environmental and human health problems. Today, chemical corporations are much more careful about the products they make, and they actively work with the government and other companies to promote safety standards. However, some critics have pointed out that some corporations have a history of doing business in the developing world, where government regulation tends to be less tight, so that they can avoid restrictive safety rules.

Many chemical corporations make chemicals primarily for supply to other companies, rather than dealing with end consumers. These companies act as suppliers for other companies which need chemicals for the products they manufacture, such as petrochemical companies, agricultural companies, and so forth. A chemical corporation may also manufacture a range of products for end consumption; Clorox, for example, makes a wide array of cleaning chemicals which it sells directly to the public.

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