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Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences, Vol.6(2), 192-198, February 2016
(An International Research Journal), www.chemistry-journal.org
ISSN 2229-760X (Print)
ISSN 2319-7625 (Online)
Role of Chemistry in Everyday Life
Sunita Bhargava
Department of Chemistry,
College of Life Sciences, Cancer Hospital &Research Institute,
Gwalior M. P. India
[email protected]
(Received on: February 20, 2016)
We are surrounded by chemistry, but many people are not aware of that fact.
Chemistry has influenced our life so much that we do not even realise that we come
across chemicals at every moment; that we ourselves are beautiful chemical creations
and all our activities are controlled by chemicals.
Subject-Matter Objectives / Goals / Competences
By the end of the unit, students will be able to …
explain the presence of chemistry in their everyday lives.
give your opinion about the use of chemical substances in daily products.
discuss whether chemistry is just involved in manufactured products or not.
outline some phenomena of our everyday lives from a scientific perspective.
find and exchange information on the chemical explanation of some everyday facts.
Main Target Knowledge
The presence of chemistry in food through the use of additives.
The presence of chemistry in medicine through natural and manufactured remedies.
The presence of chemistry in personal care products through its impact on our body.
The presence of chemistry in housekeeping products and the dangers they involve.
Be able to identify chemical hazard labels.
The advantages and disadvantages of the presence of chemistry in our everyday life.
Main Target Skills
Be able to explain how certain chemical reactions from everyday life work.
Surf the Internet to find specific information.
Develop a critical approach towards the presence of chemicals in our everyday life.
Keywords: Chemistry, chemophobia, additives, preservatives, chemical hazards,
allergic reaction.
We're surrounded by chemistry in everyday life. Chemistry has
influenced our life so much that we do not even realize that we come across chemicals at every
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
moment; that we ourselves are beautiful chemical creations and all our activities are controlled
by chemicals. The principles of chemistry have been used for the benefit of mankind..Foods
we eat have to do with chemistry. They consist of organic compounds like carbohydrates starch and sugar, protein, and lipids. Other nutrients like vitamins and minerals and water are
all important chemical compounds. The process of respiration removes oxygen from the
environment while adding carbon dioxide and water. Plants use these to carry out
photosynthesis, while releasing oxygen and water again out of their leaves. The ph of various
things in the home have to do with chemistry from the acidic orange juice to the alkaline
bleach. When you eat foods, hydrolysis or digestion occurs in the alimentary canal. This is a
series of chemical reactions using enzymes, to change complex chemicals in food to end
products that can be absorbed by the body's cells. The caffeine in the coffee and tea we drink
affects our mood and keeps us awake. These are all chemical through a chemical change,
which is why cooked food often tastes different from raw food. Baking is a great example of
chemistry, and it's just as precise. Too much or too little of any ingredient throws off the
reactions needed for baking. The dough won't rise or the cake will be flat. Using chemistry
allows us to understand that ice floats because it is less dense than the water that created it.
Again, chemical reactions important to everyday life. The drugs people use are all extracted
from plants or synthesized in laboratories--chemistry! Soaps, detergents, household cleaners
are all chemicals made in a lab. The art of cooking is a chemical reaction. Once food is cooked,
it is never the same! A piece of bread vs. toast, or a raw piece of steak, vs. a cooked steak. The
makeup and anti-wrinkle cremes, the sunscreen, all chemical products devised in labs and sold
on the market place. Our understanding of chemistry gives us the technology to add vitamins
to food. Vitamin water and vitamin-fortified cereal are both examples of chemistry in food.
When soda fizzes up, that-s chemistry too.
Chemistry in various field
Chemistry isn't something that just lives in a lab, it's something that you encounter
hundreds of times every day. Knowing how chemistry works will give you a greater
appreciation of the complex processes behind some of the simplest-looking things.
Chemistry explains how food changes as we cook it, how it rots, how to preserve food,
how our body uses the food eats, and how ingredients interact to make food.
Food Security and Agriculture
The famous green revolution to increase agricultural produce so as to ensure food
security was triggered by the advent of inorganic fertilizers. Since then fertilizers are
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
extensively used by farmers to restore the fertility of soil in the fields. Pesticides are used to
protect the crop during farming and preserve the grains from pests, rats and mice during
storage. Genetically modified seeds which are used to enhance production and earn profits
through export of food grains are agricultural applications of Bio-chemistry. Whereas
refrigeration system for cold storage of vegetables and raw meat uses Poly Urethanes Foam
(PUF) and the chemical properties of gases, the preservatives in packaged food products are
known to have adverse impact on our body.
Chemicals in Food
Chemicals are added to food for (i) their preservation, (ii) enhancing
their appeal, and (iii) adding nutritive value in them. Main categories
of food additives are as follows:
(i) Food colours
(ii) Flavours and sweeteners
(iii) Fat emulsifiers and stabilising agents
(iv) Flour improvers - antistaling agents and bleaches
(v) Antioxidants
(vi) Preservatives
(vii) Nutritional supplements such as minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
Except for chemicals of category (vii), none of the above additives have nutritive value. These
are added either to increase the shelf life of stored food or for cosmetic purposes.
Agents Artificial Sweetening
Natural sweeteners, e.g., sucrose add to calorie intake and therefore many people
prefer to use artificial sweeteners. Ortho-sulphobenzimide, also called saccharin, is the first
popular artificial sweetening agent. It has been used as a sweetening agent ever since it was
discovered in 1879. It is about 550 times as sweet as cane sugar. It is excreted from the body
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
in urine unchanged. It appears to be entirely inert and harmless when taken. Its use is of great
value to diabetic persons and people who need to control intake of calories.
Food Preservatives
Food preservatives prevent spoilage of food due to microbial growth. The most
commonly used preservatives include table salt, sugar, vegetable oils and sodium benzoate,
C6H5COONa. Sodium benzoate is used in limited quantities and is metabolised in the body.
Salts of sorbic acid and propanoic acid are also used as preservatives.
About chemistry in cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body.
A subset of cosmetics is called "make-up“, which refers to products intended to change the
user‟s appearance. There are still health concerns regarding the presence of harmful chemicals
within these products. Lipsticks and lip balm contain oils, beeswax and perfumes. These
protect, soften and brighten the lips. Nail polish is made of lacquer, and consists of polymers,
solvents, plasticisers, colourants, and perfumes. Mascaras have a composition based on a
volatile solvent, beeswax, pigments (iron oxide) and filmifying polymers
Cleaning: Cleansing Agents
In this Section, we will learn about detergents. Two types of detergents are
used as cleansing agents. These are soaps and synthetic detergents. These improve
cleansing properties of water. These help in removal of fats which bind other materials
to the fabric or skin. Soaps are the detergents used since long. Soaps used for cleaning
purpose are sodium or potassium salts of long chain fatty acids, e.g., stearic, oleic and
palmitic acids. Soaps containing sodium salts are formed by heating fat (i.e., glyceryl
ester of fatty acid) with aqueous sodium hydroxide solution. This reaction is known as
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
Chemistry is a huge part of medicine, both as a diagnostic and treatment tool.
Chemistry departments in hospital medical labs analyze blood, urine, etc. for proteins,
sugars and other substances. Blood analysis test the amount of potassium and sodium
in our blood.
Drugs and their Classification
Drugs are chemicals of low molecular masses (~100 – 500u). These interact with
macromolecular targets and produce a biological response. When the biological response is
therapeutic and useful, these chemicals are called medicines and are used in diagnosis,
prevention and treatment of diseases. If taken in doses higher than those recommended, most
of the drugs used as medicines are potential poisons. Use of chemicals for therapeutic effect
is called chemotherapy.
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
Drugs can be classified mainly on criteria outlined as follows:
(a) On the basis of pharmacological effect
This classification is based on pharmacological effect of the drugs. It is useful for
doctors because it provides them the whole range of drugs available for the treatment of a
particular type of problem. For example, analgesics have pain killing effect, antiseptics kill or
arrest the growth of microorganisms.
(b) On the basis of drug action
It is based on the action of a drug on a particular biochemical process. For example,
all antihistamines inhibit the action of the compound, histamine which causes inflammation in
the body. There are various ways in which action of histamines can be blocked.
(c) On the basis of chemical structure
It is based on the chemical structure of the drug. Drugs classified in this way share
common structural features and often have similar pharmacological activity. For example,
(d) On the basis of molecular targets
Drugs usually interact with biomolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and
nucleic acids. These are called target molecules or drug targets. Drugs possessing some
common structural features may have the same mechanism of action on targets. The
classification based on molecular targets is the most useful classification for medicinal
Industries and Transport
From cloth mills, lather factories, petro-chemical industries and refineries to metal
industries- all use numerous fuels for power generation and chemical products for processing
their product and improve the equality and simultaneously produce pollution. Now-a-days
chemical effluent treatment plants use chemicals to control or neutralist he hazardous impact
of pollutants produced by the industries. Aviation and shipping industries generate power
through power plants which burn fuels. Petrol and diesel emit out green house gases dangerous
for the survival on earth which damage the ozone layer that protects us from UV rays. As a
result global warming has taken place which is a destroyer of the planet earth. But again
Chemistry paves the way with bio-fuels.
Science and Technology
The destructive effects of Atom Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Generations in Japan have suffered the devastation and there has-been no solace. The threat of
weapons of mass-destruction (WMDs) like the Nuclear, Chemical and Biological weapons
looms large on the Humanity. Terrorists are using RDX and other explosives to run currents
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org
Sunita Bhargava, J. Chem. & Cheml. Sci. Vol.6(2), 192-198 (2016)
of fear down the spines across the globe. Nuclear reactors which are going to serve the future
generations through power generation leave us with the problem of Nuclear Waste
Management. Whereas the destructive power is generated through chains of chemical
reactions, we remain assured that Chemistry has facilitated the chain of counter measures too
in the form of safety suites and NBC resistant bunkers. Forensic science- the comprehensive
scientific analysis of material evidence in the context of the law uses principles of chemistry
to facilitate crime investigation. Tele-communications, Information Technology and Space
Missions- all bank on the chemistry of semi-conductor sand nano-tubes.
Environmental Issu
Chemistry is at the heart of environmental issues. What makes one chemical a nutrient
and another chemical a pollutant? How we can clean up the environment? What processes can
produce the things our need without harming the environment? We're all chemists. We use
chemicals every day and perform chemical reactions without thinking much about them.
Chemistry is important because everything you do is chemistry! Even our body is made of
chemicals. Chemical reactions occur when we breathe, eat, or just sit there reading. All matter
is made of chemicals, so the importance of chemistry is that it's the study of everything.
1. http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/f/importanceofchemistry.htm
Chemistry is present in every aspect of life, and here we can see a few examples. There
are articles about the chemistry of everyday life, and also a few about physics, as it's also
present in our daily life
2. http://www.novapdf.com
February, 2016 |Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Sciences|www.chemistry-journal.org