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TAN ZI NING, 1001025346
CHONG HUE LI, 1001025115
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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Helping MAMA

Do you love your mom?
If the answer is yes, then you must read the whole article to help out your exhausted mother.

         Every mother will somehow cook for their children. The taste of the food is a total different story compared to what I want to tell you all readers today. We as a loving child need to know what our mother needs. They need a helping hand whenever to clean their cooking utensils whenever after they cook.
            Cleaning cooking utensils is a tough job for each mom. WHY? Simply because they do not know the right chemical to use.
Cleaning cooking utensils is a part of a household art. We can use several different ingredient to clean various types of metals (not only cooking utensils). For example the traditional way of removing rust from knives and metal pots is by using lemon. Cut a whole fresh lemon into half and squeeze the juice onto the surface of the metal and spread it evenly. Wait for several minutes, then wipe it off with a cloth (be careful of your hand when wiping the knives). This process can be repeated several times for a better result. 

But the problem is why can lemon help to remove rust from metals?
As what we know, lemon is a type of citric fruit. This type of fruit will produce certain acids (mainly vitamin C) that are very useful to our health (when we eat it) and our surroundings (when we use it). I remember when I was in my chemistry class during secondary school, my teacher taught us that “when acid mixed with metal, it will produce salt and water”. So eventually I went and do some research on it and found out that it is practically useful to clean cooking utensils. Certainly u may use other acids to clean it but the safest and most convenient type of acid is still lemon juice because it is edible compared to other acids.
There are also other types of dirt we need to clean from cooking utensils other than rust. E.g. fats, grease, carbon (soot), oils, dust, fungus, mosses and other bacteria. Such cleaning will need lot more energy than just cooking. However with the correct use of acids, alkalis, solvent, detergent, water and heat, the process will be as simple as wiping dust off the surface.
First thing first, whenever a mother cooks, there will be certain amount of ‘smog’ emitted from the food. This ‘smog’ may contain things such as water vapor, oils and grease. When these ‘smog’ reaches the surface of your ceiling or any other surface, it may condense and accumulate at those surfaces. If the situation is left untreated, the ‘smog’ will harden and thicken becoming the food source of bacteria and fungus. Till then the ‘smog will be very hard to deal with even if you have a very good detergent. So cleaning the household regularly is recommended to curb this problem. To fix the problem, try using alkalis such as normal detergent or toothpaste. Place suitable amount of toothpaste over the smog and leave it for a while (5mins-30mins) then use solvent like ammonia solution or alcohol solution will help out a bit depends on the type of grease. Scrub it off after that. Detergents and toothpaste both have a common characteristic which is alkaline. These alkalis will soften the grease by using their hydroxide ions to neutralize the grease and oils which contains hydrogen ions and some unsaturated carbon bonds. After such bonds are broken, ammonias or alcohols are used to ‘stick’ up all the dirt off the surface. Such that the dirt leaves the surface and can be easily clean off. Such dirt will present in paste form or solid form when cleaned off. Some scrubbing may be practiced when cleaning it and to speed things up.

Next will be cleaning soot or burnt food at the bottom of the pots and pans. First prepare some acids preferably lemon or vinegar and a stove. Next pour 2 fresh lemon juice or 5 tablespoon of vinegar into the pot. Then put it on the stove to be mildly heated for half an hour. Leave it cool and then scrub it with a soft sponge. This will help and ease things up a little compared to the traditional way of keep scrubbing it. But the best way may just be buying a new pot because scrubbing the pot may end up damaging the bottom of the pot which may expose certain chemicals inside such as heavy metals which is highly hazardous; you won’t want your family to eat heavy metal food right? And do not use this technique if it is an aluminum pot.

Next up, the mission impossible for most Moms; cleaning molds from kitchen tiles. Not only they are unsightly but they also risk your family’s health as it may release toxics into the air we breathe. However cleaning it is a very tough job because most of these molds will tend to hide in the linings of the tiles and at certain angles where we can’t reach. To make things worse, these molds are plants which will grow roots; where these roots will anchor them into the linings of the tiles. Even if we manage to clean the surface there will be high possibilities for the mold to grow back at the same place as we could not uproot it totally. So to clean this up, we will need to kill it. First prepare some ammonia solution. Pour it over the stained linings and leave it for a few minutes. Pour in bleach to break the cells of the mold. Then rinse it with plenty of water as both of these is corrosive if contact to our skin. Use toothbrush and toothpaste to scrub the linings of the tiles to neutralize the toxic and decolorize the stained part. Leave it there for a few minutes to enable it to penetrate through the lining to clean the roots too. Rinse it of with water. Frequent cleaning with bleach is recommended as new mold will grow. Cleaning should be done as soon as any stain is visible and before the root fully anchored the mold. Or else the whole process need to be repeated again. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Bubble Pop!

Who haven't heard of the word "soft drinks" or perhaps "carbonated drinks" and "soda"? Everyone knows it right.............right?  Sprite, 7up, Pepsi, Root Beer are the examples of carbonated drinks!

Not to forget, the famous legendary carbonated drink, Coca Cola!
**Just by looking at the pictures, I feel like going to a supermarket and grab them all :3
Carbonated drinks, as we are aware, are a mixture of carbonated water and other ingredients like flavours and additives. Carbonated drinks are made by dissolving carbon dioxide gas, CO2 and other ingredients; flavours, sweeteners, food acids etc. The process of dissolving carbon dioxide into water is called carbonation. When you dissolve carbon dioxide into water, it is called as carbonated water or sparkling water. It is a chemical formulation that gives out carbonic acid.

Carbonic acid has a chemical formula of H2CO3. Carbonated water is often the based of most soft drinks that are manufactured. There may be additives (such as sodium citrate, potassium sulphate and others) that may be used to give it a specific taste, flavour etc.. Sometimes, carbonated water is also useful in removing stains from coffee mugs or stains from silver.

How is soda pop carbonated?

The chemical formula as a result of carbonation gives the soft drinks it's bite. The fizzy taste is due to carbonic acid and not due to the bubbles. Carbonation is also used sometimes to lower the pH of a water solution. When the ingredients are combined and mixed in the container, the carbon dioxide gas filled the empty space at the top of the container. The bottle or can is then sealed. The carbon dioxide at the top of the container is under pressure and prevents any of the dissolved carbon dioxide from escaping the solution.

When the bottle is opened, a familiar "hiss" sound is heard and the carbon dioxide gas in the top of the bottle is released. The dissolved carbon dioxide can now escape from the solution; the result is the familiar bubbling carbonated drink. But then, the carbon dioxide does not escape on it's own, but forms a molecule called the nucleus so that they have the power to resists fluids, escape to the surface. This molecule can be seen when we poured the drink into a glass, then at the edge will form bubbles that look together. This nucleus also provide delicious sensation on the tongue.

What are the ingredients and composition of a carbonated drink? 

The content of carbon dioxide in soft drinks depends on the type of drink. For beverages containing flavour imitation, usually used in high carbonation levels. In the beverage with fruit flavours that contain high sugar levels of carbon dioxide is preferably low. Let's take a few examples of composition from a coca cola drink. 

  1. Cane sugar - sucrose which has been extracted from a sugar cane that produces naturally high concentrations of this sweet substance. Many people prefer it because they believe it has a superior flavour.
  2. Phosphoric acid - creates an acid medium that enhances the absorption of carbon dioxide (which is also forms carbonic acid in water); reducing the pressure required and allowing the mixture to be bottled with a metal cap.
  3. Sodium benzoate - keep soft drinks fresh and prevent harmful bacteria from growing.
  4. Citric acid - for flavouring and buffering properties; Increase the effectiveness of anti-microbial preservatives.
  5. Ace-K (Acesulfame potassium) - calorie-free artificial sweetener.
But, there are some ingredients that can bring destructive to health such as caffeine where it is an addictive drug that has the ability to stimulate mental alertness, overcome fatigue, and enhance endurance. Over consumption of soft drinks also brings a major cause of tooth decay. Similarly carbonated beverages are not directly associated with high risk of bone fracture.

Now, almost every restaurant especially those fast food branches offers carbonated drinks in their menu list. So far, we've been to many restaurants such as KFC, McDonalds, and Old Town White Coffee and we had Coca Cola, Sprite, and all those frizzy drinks! Check us out having fun drinking carbonated drinks below hehehe

Zi Ning probably was drinking Pepsi that time :) 
[Her expression? Maybe because she was fizzed (is that even a word?) by the "bubbles" haha]
Lily and her Coca Cola with ice cream float on top! *drools*
And lastly, me enjoying my McDonald's McValue lunch with my favourite drink, Sprite!

Take care of your health, do not drink too much of carbonated drinks!  

That's all from me; Syira. Till then!

P/s : Well, perhaps once in a while is fine, especially if you are a lover (like me) hehe

Monday, 13 June 2011

Health Risks of Chemical Hair Dyes

Dyeing hair seems to be a trend nowadays. Everyone dyes their hair regardless the age and the gender. Humans just tend to be not grateful of their natural hair colour.
There are risks associated with using these products. One of the main chemicals in most hair dyes has been banned in several European countries, and hair dye chemicals have been shown to have a variety of harmful effects in scientific experiments. Use of hair dye has been linked to allergic reactions, respiratory disorders and even cancer.

Urticaria, a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps.
Skin and other allergic reactions pose the biggest risk to hair dye users. Signs of a mild reaction may only be irritation of the upper eyelids or rims of the ears, but in more severe reactions, the whole head or body may be involved. A severe form of allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock. When this occurs, the mouth and tongue swell and the airways constrict. Anaphylaxis can be rapidly fatal, and there have been isolated cases of hair dyes causing anaphylactic shock.
Skin reactions can occur on a person's first exposure to hair dye, or can suddenly occur in a person who has been using them long-term. A patch test before every dyeing is important to help detect skin allergies, but everytime dye is applied to the skin, the immune system may become sensitized, increasing the risk of future allergic reaction.

Lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic cells of the immune system.
Cancers develop due to a combination of many factors damaging the DNA of a cell in the body. While there is proof that hair dye chemicals do cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, it is still debated whether the low doses from hair dyes are sufficient to cause cancer in humans. Most studies have focused on a possible increased risk of bladder cancer. Some studies have found that women who had consistently used hair dye long term had higher levels, and other studies did not. 

If hair has been dyed many times, it becomes 'over-processed', which leads to brittle, dry hair that lack shine. Since hair only grows slowly (about 1.5cm/half an inch a month) longer hair can end up receiving multiple dye treatments. If other chemicals such as hair relaxers are used, the damage can be even worse, and over-processed hair easily breaks and splits. Unfortunately, there is really no solution to hair damage from dyeing, other than to stop dyeing. Using a deep conditioner and products specifically for dyed hair can help to reduce the damage and also maintain the colour. Try to dye only the roots, to reduce the number of times the length of hair dyed. 
P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) is the chemical that causes allergic reactions. PPD is present in over 2/3 of chemical hair dyes, and is known to be toxic to the immune system, skin, nervous system, respiratory system, liver and kidneys. It is the most toxic chemical in hair dyes. PPD is a skin sensitizer, meaning that it can stimulate the immune system to cause a variety of allergic reactions. The skin may become red, blister, itch and burn on exposure of PPD. Allergic reactions may also cause breathing difficulties and can even be fatal. Laboratory experiments have shown that PPD damages the DNA of human cells. Accumulated DNA damage leads to cancer. However, it is not conclusive whether the exposure to PPD from hair dyes is enough to cause cancer in women who dye their hair, although hair stylists who color hair at work do have higher cancer levels. Breathing in PPD fumes can cause the airways to narrow, making breathing difficult. This can be a transient reaction, or can cause long-term asthma. Severe lung problems and deaths have been reported after accidental ingestion of PPD. Hair dyes should always be kept out children's reach to prevent accidents.

Boxed, chemical hair dyes marketed as 'natural' typically do not contain resorcinol, ammonia or peroxide. However, they still contain at least some PPD, just a lower level. Lower levels are obviously better, but using these dyes does not completely remove the risk of suffering an allergic reaction or other side effect. 'Natural' hair dye manufacturers include Naturtint and Herbatint. Therefore, always look at the ingredients of any 'natural' hair dye to check out just how 'natural' it is.

There are some ways of minimizing the potential health risks. 
1) Darkest color hair dyes carry the most risk, due to the types of chemicals they contain. Try to use a lighter and warmer shade instead.
2) Minimize exposure and damage to the hair by dyeing it as infrequently as possible. 
Finally, investigate some of the more natural, less chemical hair 
dyes available on the market today!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Everyone ♥s ICE-CREAM!! I scream, You scream, ICE-CREAM!!

The weather recently has been superbly HOT. There is nothing that comes to mind better to cool things down than some ice-cream! I like to eat ice-cream. Well, who doesn't like it right? ;) Even babies enjoy eating ice-cream.

 My 2-year-old twin baby cousins enjoying their cup of ice-cream.

Ice-creams tend to make us happier when we are consuming it. It is always the first choice among all the desserts. 

In this fast world, consumers are now consuming copious quantities of a chemical substitute falsely labelled as ice cream. The masses are being slowly poisoned by a concoction of anti-freeze, nitrates, lice killers, leather cleaners, rubber cement solvents and other scary combinations served up by uncaring mega corporations. At last count, there are over 1375 different flavorings, stabilizers, colors, and emulsifiers used in the manufacture of commercial ice cream.
Some of the artificial flavours are potent poisons which are powerful enough to cause liver, kidney, and heart disease, asthma attacks, allergic reactions, hay-fever, hyper activity and more. Nowadays, there are many manufacturers who use artificial flavouring in ice-cream because they are cheap.
For example, strawberry flavouring is known as benzyl acetate. It is a synthetic chemical which tastes like strawberry. Benzyl acetate is a nitrate solvent which is extremely dangerous and causes nausea and diarrhoea.  The chemical used to replace the nut flavours is butraldehyde, one of the ingredients in rubber cement.

Stabilizers make ice cream smooth; and emulsifiers make it stiff, so it can retain air. For example, propylene glycol which is also used in antifreeze, glycerin, sodium carboxyl methylcellulose, monoglycerides, diglycerides, disodium phosphates, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, polysorbate 80, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate.

Ice creams also have products which contains animal source ingredient known as gelatin that is made by boiling tissue, bones and skin of cows or pigs. A vegetarian might be unintentionally to eat it.

Ice cream can be a delicious way to get healthy fat, calcium, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals (if using real raw cream, egg yolks, and pure maple syrup) into children that are sometimes not big milk drinkers. Making ice cream on our is relatively simple with an electric ice cream maker.

Even if we don't have the time, or desire, to make our own ice cream, reach for the best high quality ice cream we can. Look for the ones that use simple, wholesome ingredients (cream as a first ingredient is a good sign). The cost may be a bit more, but can't beat the taste.

And stop worrying about the fat content; it's some of those dubious vegetable oils should be concerned about. Next time, fore go the antifreeze, oil paint, leather cleaner, and lice killer for something that resembles food. Food is supposed to taste good, just keep it simple and healthy!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Let's cook dinner! Wait, do i need to put AJINOMOTO to the dish?

It’s 29th of May. A Sunday.

Errr what should I do on this lonely day? Friends are all back to home enjoying their sweet time with parents, hanging out with buddies, sleeping on their own bed.. Left me alone in hostel figuring how to pass my time..

Checking my homework list, wow, lotsa deadlines coming up, but hmm... MAYBE I CAN procrastinate my homework and enjoy my weekend first *winks.
Somehow, after few hours of day-dreaming, the feeling of guilt came to me. I should get my work START and Uni Chem Assignment caught me! Hee..

“Wow mum, the fish is so delicious! It has better taste than yours”
“Girl, it’s Ajinomoto.”
“Nehh mum, you are jealous. Don’t you?”

The dish of fish consisting Ajinomoto. Thumbs up! keke..

“Ddy, why can’t you buy me some snacks or tidbits? I want them in front of tv.”
“Girl, it’s Ajinomoto.”
“Daddy!!!!! Are you in financial crisis? Oh come’on, they just costs you few bucks..”

My favourite snack! ^^

Me and syira eating snack =D

Ajinomoto.. Ajinomoto and again Ajinomoto.. Sometimes I really get sick with this word. Mum and dad keep repeating it. What’s wrong with it???
“Bad for health.”
That’s the only answer I got every time. No one had ever given me a longer answer and so I did research through internet. 

Ajinomoto is actually the trade name of monosodium glutamate (MSG). It is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid. It is used as a food addictive to enhance flavour. Glutamate is found naturally in human bodies and in protein-containing foods, such as seaweed, tomato and most dairy products. Only “free” form of glutamate can enhance the flavour of foods. MSG is usually made into white crystalline powder form and dissociates into sodium and glutamate ions while dissolving.

White crystalline powder form of MSG.

Structural molecule of MSG.

Let’s see why it’s bad for health.

The reasons mummy and daddy “ban” Ajinomoto.
1.) Cause numbness in people.
2.) People experience a burning sensation.
3.) Headache along with nausea, breathing disorder and drowsiness.
4.) Facial tightness as well as chest pain.
5.) Eye bags, excessive dryness, face swelling.
6.) Genital problems : prostate/vaginal swelling and frequent urination.
7.) Stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea.
8.) Muscular disorders : stiffness, joint pain.
9.) Mood swings, shuddering, loss of balance, lethargy, behavioural problems
10.) Visual disorders : focusing problem, blurred vision.
11.) Excessive high/low blood pressure level, arterial fibrillation, palpitations, arrhythmia.

After knowing the effects of Ajinomoto, I would say that mum’s dishes are the best! Yeah!

*** I found out one interesting fact about Ajinomoto. 
Most of the people including ME have an idea that Ajinomoto causes baldness which is NOT TRUE. 
The components of MSG : Glutamate(80%), Sodium (12%) and Water. 
On the contrary, Ajinomoto can help in reducing salt due to the Umami (savoury) taste. By using a small amount of MSG, salt intake can be reduced by as much as 20 to 30 %.

Well, this actually surprise me as I always think that my hair falls because I had too much of Ajinomoto!

This is the first time I blog in my life, hope it doesn’t sucks.. haha..:P
Gotta go, Bubye! :)