ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Air Products and Chemicals Inc. has sent out layoff notices to about 600 workers as the first phase of a previously announced two-year program to eliminate as many as 1,500 jobs.

Monday's layoffs were applied across the board, the Allentown, Pa.-based company said.

Air Products, which makes industrial gases and chemicals, employs about 14,000 people worldwide. No timetable has been set for for the final two phases of the cost-cutting program announced in August.