To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, there has been a significant increase in demand for isopropyl alcohol (IPA) for use in medical, health and pharmaceutical applications. IPA is a key ingredient in hand sanitizer, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of alcohol-based hand rubs to fight against the spread of germs. ExxonMobil produces IPA at the world's single-largest unit located within the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant, and production is being maximized to meet customer and societal needs in these critical end-uses. In fact, a Baton Rouge supply of IPA is being shipped to a Pennsylvania manufacturing facility to begin production of medical-grade hand sanitizer for immediate distribution by Palmer's (skincare and haircare company) to medical first responders and U.S. Military personnel. This donation alone will produce 60,000 8-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer. Also, ExxonMobil is working with various state governments, including Louisiana and New York, to directly supply IPA for use in disinfectant products in support of critical emergency response efforts. In Louisiana, ExxonMobil is partnering with GOHSEP to coordinate this effort.
In addition to IPA, ExxonMobil Chemical Company produces a wide range of products that serve as building blocks for end-use products used in health, hygiene and/or sanitation applications; all key considerations in the COVID-19 response. For example, the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant produces polypropylene, a versatile material that can help improve the safety, performance and recyclability of plastic end products such as IV bags, ventilator machines, hospital gowns and medical face masks. ExxonMobil facilities also produce Exxal alcohols, which are used in the manufacturing of soap, detergent and some cleaning agents. Emergency response vehicles require fuel and lubricants manufactured at the ExxonMobil Refinery and Port Allen Lubricants Plant to transport high-risk patients, critical medical supplies and other goods. They have actively taken steps to maximize the production of these products for their customers to support the ongoing global response effort.
Furthermore, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant is supplying polypropylene to the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a non-profit affiliate of the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology. This partnership will expedite the development and third-party production of innovative safety equipment that can be sterilized and worn multiple times. A new industrial-style mask is being fast-tracked for production. Once approved by the FDA, production will begin immediately, with ExxonMobil supporting the identification of manufacturers familiar with the materials and process to quickly deliver the masks to doctors, nurses and healthcare providers. Manufacturers indicate they will be able to produce as many as 40,000 ready-to-use masks and filter cartridges per hour.
As part of a commitment to help flatten the curve during this trying time, ExxonMobil has also made hand sanitizer donations to the local school system and the Baton Rouge Health District. Containers of hand sanitizer provided to the Foundation for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools will support their efforts in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as the school system workers continue to provide nearly 15,000 meals per day to students in East Baton Rouge Public Schools.
The Baton Rouge Health District is providing their donated hand sanitizer to local hospitals and healthcare facilities to aid the support of area healthcare workers.