Q:

How does chemistry impact our society?

A:

Chemistry has impacted society by aiding technological advancements, advancing the medical field, fortifying national defense and assisting in biological breakthroughs. Moreover, just within the last two centuries, chemistry has played a major part in the development of nuclear technology and electronics.

Chemistry's place in society has always been questionable as the impact on the environment has mainly been trial and error. Red flags arise when products contain certain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. The harm is accompanied by fear of not knowing the reactions of substances. As chemists venture into lesser known substances, risk is always a factor that must be calculated. Clearly, many social risks are associated in the creation of explosives, gases, drugs and other lethal substances. Moreover, the side effects from chemicals, regardless of their intended use, create a lasting and devastating impact on society's health as well.

On the other hand, chemistry is responsible for household convenience items, such as detergents, adhesives, pain relievers and lubricants. It is difficult to imagine the way life would be without these common items because, for decades, they have been around and readily available. In addition, the understanding of the basics of chemistry has helped society progress significantly. Although modern medicine is a direct reflection of society's advancement due to chemistry's impact on society, it doesn't stop there. Since the dawn of man, chemistry has been used for things such as making fire, aiding hunting and gathering, and making clothes.

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