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Soda Ash
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Soda ash is the trade name for sodium carbonate, a chemical refined from the mineral trona or sodium-carbonate-bearing brines (both referred to as "natural soda ash") or manufactured from one of several chemical processes (referred to as "synthetic soda ash").  It is an essential raw material in glass, chemicals, detergents, and other important industrial products.  In 1998, in terms of production, soda ash was the 11th largest inorganic chemical of all domestic inorganic and organic chemicals, excluding petrochemical feedstocks.  Although soda ash represented only 2% of the total $39 billion U.S. nonfuel mineral industry, its use in many diversified products contributed substantially to the gross domestic product of the United States.  Because soda ash is used in flat glass for automobile manufacture and building construction, which are important economic sectors of the domestic economy, monthly soda ash production data are incorporated into monthly economic indicators for industrial production by the Federal Reserve Board, which monitors the condition of the U.S. economy.

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