Acid Rain

By: Cooper Brady

Effects of Acid Rain On The Environment and Human Health

Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to the damage of trees at high elevations. Because of this water that has been affected can be unsafe to use. Acid Rain is also to blame for reduced visibility. Sulfate particles account for 50 to 70 percent of the visibility reduction in the eastern part of the U.S., affecting our enjoyment of national parks, such as the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains. 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.
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Causes of Acid Rain

"Acid rain" is a broad term referring to a mixture of wet and dry deposition (deposited material) from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. The precursors, or chemical forerunners, of acid rain formation result from both natural sources, such as volcanoes and decaying vegetation, and man-made sources, primarily emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) resulting from fossil fuel combustion. In the United States, roughly 2/3 of all SO2 and 1/4 of all NOx come from electric power generation that relies on burning fossil fuels, like coal. Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds.

What Can You Do To Help Prevent Acid Rain?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Be well informed.


Effects of Acid Rain." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.