Naturally-occurring chemicals can be solid, liquid, or gas. Naturally occurring solids, liquids, or gases may be made up of individual elements or may contain many elements in the form of molecules.
Oxygen and nitrogen are naturally occurring gases. Together, they make up most of the air we breathe. Hydrogen is the most common naturally-occurring gas in the universe.
Perhaps the most important naturally occurring liquid in the universe is water. Made up of hydrogen and oxygen, water behaves differently from most other liquids: it expands when frozen. This natural chemical behavior has had a profound effect on the geology, geography, and biology of Earth and (almost certainly) other planets.
Any solid object found in the natural world is made up of chemicals. Plant fibers, animal bones, rocks, and soil are all made up of chemicals. Some minerals, such as copper or zinc, are made entirely from one element. But granite, for example, is a metamorphic rock made up of multiple elements.
We tend to think of chemicals as being undesirable and unnatural additions to our food and air. In fact, of course, chemicals make up all of our foods as well as the air we breathe. It is, however, a reality that chemical compounds added to natural foods or gases can cause significant problems. For example, a chemical compound called MSG (monosodium glutamate) is often added to food to improve its flavor. MSG, however, can cause headaches and other negative reactions. Chemical preservatives make it possible to keep food on the shelves without spoiling, but some preservatives such as nitrates have been found to cause cancer when overused.
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