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Acid Rain - Summary

By masztal25 Feb 21, 2009 377 Words
Acid Rain
Acid rain is one of the most dangerous and widespread forms of pollution. Sometimes called "the unseen plague," acid rain can go undetected in an area for years. Technically, acid rain is rain that has a larger amount of acid in it than what is normal. The acidity of rain in parts of Europe and North America has dramatically increased over the past few decades. It is now common in many places for rain to be ten to seventy times more acidic than unpolluted rain. Many living and non-living systems become harmed and damaged, because of acid rain. This article gives an informational, in-depth look at acid rain--its causes and effects; and solutions to the acid rain problem. Smoke and gases, given off by factories, cars, and other polluters that run on fossil fuels, cause acid rain. When these fuels are burned to produce energy, the sulfur that is present in the fuel combines with oxygen and becomes sulfur dioxide; some of the nitrogen in the air becomes nitr Acid Rain

Historically regulated by the Clean Air Act, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) combines with other elements in the atmosphere to form sulfate aerosols that can be inhaled. According to studies by Harvard and New York Universities, elevated levels of these aerosols can be attributed to increased mortality rates for people with lung disorders like asthma and bronchitis. About 25 percent of inhalable particulates in the eastern United States are sulfate aerosols. Additionally, Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) combine with organic compounds in the air to form Ozone, which can increase the risk of fatality for those with lung disorders. Industry emissions of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrous Oxides (NOX) can combine with oxygen, water, and other compounds in the atmosphere, and result in acidic deposition or “acid rain”. The EPA states that fossil fuel-fired electric utility plants are responsible for 70 percent of the annual SO2 and 30 percent of NOX emissions in the United States. These acidic compounds fall to the earth in dry or wet form, and can be transported by prevailing winds for hundreds of miles across international borders. The Canadian government estimates that over 14,000 lakes in eastern Canada are acidic as a result of U.S. SO2 and

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