By: Harrison Hastings
What is acid Rain?
Acid rain is a mixture of wet and dry depostion from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids.
What causes Acid Rain?
Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released from power plants and other sources, prevailing winds blow these compounds across state and national borders, sometimes over hundreds of miles
Acid Rain and it effects
The harm to people from acid rain is not direct. Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in an acid lake, is no more dangerous than walking or swimming in clean water. However, the pollutants that cause acid rain—sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)—do damage human health. These gases interact in the atmosphere to form fine sulfate and nitrate particles that can be transported long distances by winds and inhaled deep into people's lungs. Fine particles can also penetrate indoors. Many scientific studies have identified a relationship between elevated levels of fine particles and increased illness and premature death from heart and lung disorders, such as asthma and bronchitis.Based on health concerns, SO2 and NOx have historically been regulated under the Clean Air Act
What we can do to help
One individual can do to stop acid deposition. Each individual can also reduce their contribution to the problem and become part of the solution. Individuals can contribute directly by conserving energy, since energy production causes the largest portion of the acid deposition problem. For example, you can:
- Turn off lights, computers, and other appliances when you're not using them.
- Use energy-efficient appliances: lighting, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, washing machines, etc. For more information, see EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program .
- Only use electric appliances when you need them.
- Keep your thermostat at 68°F in the winter and 72°F in the summer. You can turn it even lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are away from home.
- Insulate your home as best you can.
- Carpool, use public transportation, or better yet, walk or bicycle whenever possible
- Buy vehicles with low NOx emissions, and properly maintain your vehicle.