What is the usefulness of chemistry in everyday life?

As my chemistry teacher said at the beginning of the school year.Chemistry is the science of substances, and in particular where there is a reaction between two substances in which a new substance arises. This reaction is often irreversible.

Think of combustion, rusting, separation and mixing by heating, etcetera.

Sometimes these reactions take place without you noticing it.An example is the urination in a toilet in which a cleaners just poured chlorine to clean it up. A substance in urine (urea) can cause hazardous gases in combination with chlorine in detergents (often no longer present now).

Chemistry is also an important ingredient in everyday things like cooking.
Examples include yeast, baking, caramelizing, etcetera.Much in cooking is irreversible and this is already an indication that we are dealing with a chemical reaction.

Without chemistry there is also no combustion engine, so also no ” traditionele” automobile, but also when we talk about Electric Auto”™ s then we are talking about a chemical reaction in the accu”™ s.

Without chemistry, where we delve deeper into the behaviours of the smallest particle, atoms and molecules, we do not understand why a full jam jar bursts with water when it freezes outside.Or how plants make sure we can keep breathing. Or why asphalt melts when it is warm outside.

Know what can happen when the weather is over, or why water in your fuel tank is harmful, or why you shouldn’t clean a computer screen with paint thinner…

That is the usefulness of chemistry in everyday life.

Chemistry is so incredibly important in our daily life that you can also formulate this question differently and you could ask whether there are actually domains where chemistry has no influence.

Without chemistry, we had no medicines, no auto”™ s, no computer, and no smartphone anyway, and so on.

A society without chemistry is simply unthinkable.

Unfortunately, as an industry and in general, Chemistry has a serious image problem.In the media, chemistry is often performed as the big culprit. Poison, explosives, environmental pollution, ” ̃ungezon”™ chemical constituents in food or materials. It’s all the fault of ” ̃the Chemie”™.

I have already written about this earlier in the English version of Quora (Kurt van den Broeck’s answer to What made you sad today?)

Where I was referring to an article from the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (Your shopping cart is less innocent than you think: Even the bill is poisonous)

The article enumerates the use of a number of EDC”™ s (Endocrocrine Disrupting Chemicals).

  • Bisphenol A in plastics and the ink of thermal paper
  • Triclosan in toothpaste
  • phthalates in chewing gum and the plastic between your cheese slice.
  • Parabens in shampoo.
  • Pesticides in vegetables and fish,
  • AntibioticA in sea…

and the effects

  • In Italy the average penis length in the last 20 years has fallen by 1 cm
  • Diabetes
  • Breast and prostate cancer
  • Fertility problems

It is only 1 example of an article that brings the chemical industry into a bad daylight.

Unfortunately, Nuance lacks:

  • Antibiotics is one of the most important inventions of the last century and has saved millions of lives.
  • Pesticides must be used responsibly, but it has clear advantages in our food supply.
  • Triclosan is added to toothpaste to avoid gum disease, i.e. it has a clear health benefit.

Government agencies will continue to monitor this and the risk-™ s continue to weigh the benefits. They do so on the basis of advancing scientific insight.

Don’t misunderstand: For some chemicals there is a good alternative and others are totally unnecessary.

For example, I am a fierce opponent of antibacterial soaps for everyday use and I am not alone [1.Dettol is supposedly the best known brand name that brings this ” ̃nonsense“™ on the market.Dettol contains Chloroxylenol but is totally redundant for domestic use. Wash your hands with ordinary soap; That works well enough. But again I have no problem in itself with Chloroxylenol and also not with Dettol. Chloroxylenol is on the WHO list of most essential medications. It is mainly to me that we use this kind of business responsibly. In hospitals and when used in vulnerable groups, it can be well-™ N useful. However, Dettol puts itself in the market as if it is necessary for everyday use which in my opinion does more harm than good.

Unfortunately, We use too many antibiotics and pesticides in our food supply.We need to regulate it properly and use it responsibly. But let’s not throw the child away with the bathwater: pesticides total ban is not necessarily a good strategy. The so-called bio labels and other ” ̃organisch”™ food are not at all healthier. I would like to refer to a response from Richard Muller that provides some more insight.[2

Not long ago, environmental and health organisations were crying out for murder and fire because the European Parliament did not wish to prohibit the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in packaging material but only made the release concentrations stricter.However, I can only give the European Parliament the same. ” ̃BPA-Free”™ says very little in itself and can give itself a false sense of security. The producer claims that Z”™ N products are ” ̃BPA-Free™ and the consumer is only too keen to be in the marketing trap. But it’s not because it’s BPA-free that it’s safe. If you know that some of the alternatives listen to the names ” ̃bisphenol S”™ or ” ̃bisphenol F”™ It is not surprising in itself that they too may have similar effects. The main reason why they do not (yet) appear on the list of ” ̃care-™ Chemicals is for lack of sufficient data. [3 In my opinion, you can better limit the known dangers as much as possible instead of going to unfamiliar terrain.

To summarize everything.The media may do Z”™ n work and highlight the dangers and disadvantages of some Chemicals, but it is not all black or white. The World is grey! Supposedly a pack more than 50 Shades of gray. Chemistry is an extremely important factor to let you discover the right shades of grey in our daily life.


[1 The FDA has banned antibacterial soap ingredients that were useless in the first place

[2 Richard Muller’s answer to What are some mind-blowing facts about food?

[3 A new chapter in the Bisphenol A story: Bisphenol S and bisphenol F are not safe alternatives to this compound.

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