Effects of Chemical and Chemistry Research: Double-Edged Sword?

Topics: Human, Chemistry, Water Pages: 5 (1487 words) Published: August 30, 2013
Chemistry is one of the most important branches of scientific study to the human race, as the results of its understanding have made most of what entails modern life possible. Without a thorough understanding of chemical properties and processes, most of what people take for granted on a daily basis, such as cars, electronics and even plastics, would not exist. Chemistry concepts and research are directly responsible for the medical breakthroughs and the medicines that prolong life-spans and combat common, though potentially debilitating, health conditions. Chemistry encompasses and incorporates many other principles as well, ranging from physical properties to electrostatic forces, branching into nearly every discipline and profession to some extent. One of the most common, yet overlooked, principles of chemistry in daily life is the modern building materials and the structures that are made from them. As far back as the ancient Egyptians and the Roman Empire, chemical properties were studied and refined to produce concrete, one of the most useful and prolific building materials mankind has ever employed. Simple concepts, such electrical power and even the principles of heat and pressure all have their roots in chemistry. Chemists contribute to hundreds of different technologies. Here are a few: computers, fuels, engines, etc. Engines benefit from alloys that allow for lighter engines with higher compression. Computers with purer silicon allow for smaller micro processors. Chemical processes and their origins have helped the human race understand itself, the world around it and the greater universe as whole, leading to nearly every technological advance seen today.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Chemical pollution damages the environment and poses both short-term and long-term health dangers to human beings. Chemical pollution occurs when chemicals resulting from human activities enter the environment, contaminating air, water or soil. Acid rain, greenhouse gases and ozone are all examples of chemical pollution.

The various ways through which chemical pollution is caused and their adverse effects have been discussed below:

1. From Industrial Wastes

When industrial wastes containing poisonous chemicals are dumped carelessly, they contaminate vegetation, surface water as well as ground water supplies. Later on, these chemicals find way into all those organisms that eat the plants or grass pr drink water contaminated with these chemicals. Some of the large variety of industrial pollutants that have been put into our natural waters or buried in the ground on large scale are: acids , bases, salts, metal solutions, oils grease, dyes , waste solvents, poisons such as cyanides and mercury and variety of other chemicals.

Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, manganese, cadmium and chromium are generally toxic to life forms in grater than trace amounts. In many countries, various surface water bodies have already been heavily contaminated with poisonous chemicals posing a serious danger to aquatic life. Fishes living in several highly polluted water bodies such as rivers, lakes and along sea shores where untreated chemical effluents are released are found to be so contaminated with poisonous chemicals that they are considered find way in their bodies and cause many disease. In some cases, fishes are even found dead due to the presence of high concentration of chemicals in water.

2. Accidents in Chemical Factories

Sometimes-chemical pollution caused by the accidental release of some toxic chemical; in the factory. Such accident took place in the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal in December 1984. In this incidence, highly toxic Methyl...
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