Stepan Company is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. The company was founded in 1932 by Alfred C. Stepan, Jr., and has approximately 2,000 employees. It is currently run by his grandson, F. Quinn Stepan, Jr. The company describes itself as the largest global merchant manufacturer of anionic surfactants, which are used to enhance the foaming and cleaning capabilities of detergents, shampoos, toothpastes, and cosmetics.


In its earliest days, Stepan Company was just Alfred C. Stepan Jr., who began distributing chemical products to control road dust on country roads in Illinois. His first location was a rented desk at Chicago’s North Pier Terminal.


Stepan produces a wide array of industrial chemicals used as raw materials to make end products in the following industries: Agriculture, Antimicrobial, Beverages, Construction, Dietary Supplements, Emulsion Polymerization, Flavors, Food, Household, Institutional, and Industrial Cleaning, Industrial Products, Laundry and Cleaning, Nutrition, Nutritional Powders, Oilfield, Personal Care, Pharmaceutical, Phthalic Anhydride, and Polyester Polyols (for coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, powder coating resins, and rigid foam).


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