Chemical Change FAQ

The entire planet is undergoing continuous chemical changes. No matter what you are doing and where you are, something is always going on; most of it without you being aware of it.

What is chemical change?

There are three basic chemical changes: organic chemical changes, inorganic chemical changes and biochemical changes.

What are organic chemical changes?

These are generally induced via organic chemistry and deal with carbon and all the compounds and elements with which it reacts. Organic chemistry includes most of the oil and carbon related industries and the thousands of products they produce, which includes virtually every type of plastic, detergents, fuels, drugs, cosmetics and many more items. Fuels such as gasoline, diesel and heating oil are by-products of the refining of hydrocarbons from heavy crude oil.

What other types of organic change are there?

Halogenation is another type of organic change that involves the chemical interaction between an organic compound and a halogen.

Halogens are "salt formers," and we are not talking about table salt. The one thing all halogens have in common is that they all contain seven electrons in their outer shell. They are:

  • Fluorine
  • Bromine
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Astatine

What are inorganic chemical changes?

Inorganic chemistry is unique in that it does not involve carbon. It is a science largely confined to laboratories or giant industrial complexes. The raw material bauxite, for example, is processed in refineries that consume immense amounts of electricity to create the man-made material aluminum.

Many of the inorganic changes involve oxidization and achieving neutralization by means of mixing an acid with a base.

What are some examples of huge chemical plants?

Generally, if you live in an area where the air carries an unpleasant odor, you live near a chemical plant. Some examples are pulp mills, sugar mills, refineries, large chemical complexes, tire factories, steel mills, aluminum refineries and power plants. Many of the gases emitted by these giants of industry are noxious and may be harmful. But it is this very quality that brings jobs and industry to areas that otherwise would not have them. As the old saying goes in industrial areas: "It may smell bad to you, but it smells like money to me!"

Are there long lasting harmful effects from living in such an area?

It all depends on what is being processed. Some chemicals released into the air will turn into harmless vapor when mixed with the elements, while others will create long-lasting environmental damage. For many years, the exhaust from coal-fired power plants emitted high sulfur content smoke, which, when mixed with regular rainfall, created 'acid rain' that destroyed forests and polluted streams and lakes. Fortunately, science has been hard at work to create anti-pollution devices for these plants which remove the harmful elements from the exhaust stacks.

For some living along the U.S. gulf coast, the many chemical plants that create those jobs also create health hazards for the residents near the factories.

What are biochemical changes?

Some of the biochemical changes may be brought on by living near one of the factories mentioned above. There is also overconsumption of antibiotics, diabetes, and virtually any physical changes affecting not just us humans, but all living things, and many of those changes are brought about by the water we drink, the air we breathe and the nourishment we take in.

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