Why do onions make us cry?


Why do onions make us cry?

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When onion cells are damaged, they release a chemical that turns into acid when it touches water, your eyes don’t like to be in acid so in an effort to fix this it will tell your tearducts to produce tears and cause you to cry.

The action of cutting onions causes a reaction between chemicals in the onion cell walls and the cells, this produces a form of sulphenic acid gas which makes your eyes water. To reduce the impact on your eyes you can either reduce the amount of gas produced or stop the gas from reaching your eyes. https://youtu.be/KYDNbM0z_RA

Onions make us cry because they release a compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide when they are cut, chopped, or otherwise damaged. This compound is a type of sulfur-containing molecule that is volatile, meaning it easily evaporates into the air. When syn-propanethial-S-oxide comes into contact with the moisture in our eyes, it forms sulfuric acid, which irritates the eyes and triggers a burning or stinging sensation.

To protect our eyes from potential harm, our tear glands produce tears in response to this irritation. These tears help dilute and wash away the irritant, thus reducing the discomfort caused by the sulfuric acid. This natural response is why we experience tearing when cutting or handling onions.