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 Why do Onions make us cry?

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elyn
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PostSubject: Why do Onions make us cry?   Wed Feb 25 2009, 18:58

Why do Onions make us cry?


It is not the
strong odor of the onion that makes us cry, but the gas that the onion
releases when we sever this member of the lily family.



The onion itself
contains oil, which contains sulfur, an irritant to both our noses and
to our eyes. Cutting an onion arouses a gas contained within the onion,
propanethiol S-oxide, which then couples with the enzymes in the onion
to emit a passive sulfur compound. When this upwardly mobile gas
encounters the water produced by the tear ducts in our eyelids, it
produces sulfuric acid.


In response to the
caustic acid, our eyes automatically blink, and produce tears which
irrigate the eye, and which flush out the sulfuric acid.



Another reflex
to rid the eyes of a foreign substance, that of rubbing our eyes with
our hands, often exacerbates the situation, because our hands are
coated with the caustic, sulfuric acid producing oil from cutting the
onion, which we then rub directly into our eyes.



Much to our chagrin,
the only remedy for ridding the onion of its pungent, irritating oil is
to boil it, not to slice it or dice it.

Source: coolquiz.com
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