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Acids and Bases



Acids and Bases
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.98

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    ascorbic, hydrochloric, openers, testing, wounds, acidic, buttermilk, substance, opener, digest, lower, hominy, lighter, ammonia, acid, dioxide


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Acids and Bases
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Why does lemonade taste sour? Why does soap feel slippery? What makes cakes rise? These things happen because two kinds of chemicals called acids and bases are at work.
 
2     Acids and bases are important to everyone's health. Acids are sour chemicals, and some are found in everyone's kitchen. The word acid means sour; almost everything sour has acid in it. Vinegar and lemon juice contain acids, and so do grapefruit, green apples, and sour milk. Raspberries, grapes, and many other foods contain acids. Hydrochloric acid, dissolved in a large amount of water, is found in everyone's stomach. It helps us digest our food. Acids flavor foods. They also help turn milk into cheese and cucumbers into pickles. Many vitamins are acids that help our bodies grow. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid. It helps our bodies fight infection and repair wounds. Without enough Vitamin C, people can get a disease called scurvy.
 
3     Bases are bitter chemicals often found in kitchens and laundries. Most bases should not be tasted because few of them are foods. Many are bitter poisons. Bases have a soapy, slippery feel on the skin. Egg whites and ammonia are bases, and so are milk of magnesia and many drugs and medicines. Drain openers and oven cleaners are very strong bases. They can damage our skin if we touch them. Hominy is a vegetable we can eat that is made from corn soaked in a strong base. Our blood is a weak base. When bases are cooked with fats or oils, they turn into soap.

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