• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The impact of Acid Rain on the Environment and Human Health

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The impact of Acid Rain on the Environment and Human Health What is acid rain? Acid rain is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. A more precise term used is acid deposition that has two parts, wet and dry. Wet deposition: Refers to acidic rain, fog and snow, it affects a variety of animals and plants as it flows over and through the ground. The affects depend on many factors including how acidic the water is, the chemistry of the soils involved and type of living things that rely on the water i.e. fish, trees. Dry deposition: This refers to acidic gases and particles with over a half of the acidity in the atmosphere falling back to earth through dry deposition. These particles are blown by the wind into buildings, cars, homes and trees. They can also be washed from trees and other surfaces by rainstorms. When this occurs the runoff water adds those acids to the acidic rain making the land more acidic than falling rain alone. ...read more.

Middle

In addition acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials, paints, sculptures and statues. Effects of Acid Rain on Human Health The pollutants that cause acid rain (SO2 and NOx) can directly damage human health. These gases react with gases in the atmosphere to form sulphate and nitrate particles, which can travel to the lungs (by inhalation). They have been linked to respiratory problems such as dry coughs, headaches and eye/nose/throat irritations, as well as asthma, bronchitis and heart failure. If there were less nitrogen oxide particles in the atmosphere, they would be less able to react with the volatile organic compound that from ozone, and this decreases the risk of the 'Greenhouse Effect'. The ozone has also been linked with increased risk of lung inflammation (i.e. asthma and emphysema). These chemicals present in acid rain can harm humans indirectly too, as fruits and vegetables absorb toxic metals dissolved in the water (rain), and therefore appear in animal tissue later on. This may not affect the animals themselves but it does affect humans when the animals are consumed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The disturbance in balance of salt (especially Calcium ions) in the fish's tissue can cause poor reproduction (eggs are too brittle or weak). Calcium deficiencies also result in weak spines and deformities. Eutrophication (when nitrogen from fertilisers is washed into lakes, causing an excess of algae to grow) results in an increase in oxygen production, but due to the increased death of fish from the acid rain, decomposition uses up most of this oxygen. This leaves very little for the surviving fish to take in. Indirectly, sulphuric acid dissociates heavy metals (such as Aluminium ions) from the soil, so it accumulates in lakes and subsequently kills the fish. This has a knock-on effect on the creatures further down the food chain, as a fish deficit results in malnutrition of another animal. This is a chart showing the effects of pH on aquatics creatures; pH LEVEL EFFECTS <6 *Basic forms of food die off. Eg. Mayflies and stoneflies are important food sources for fish. They can't survive at this pH level. <5.5 *Fish cannot reproduce. *Young have difficulty staying alive. *More deformed adult fish due to lack of nutrients. *Fish die of suffocation. <5.0 *Fish population die off. <4.0 *Very different lifeforms, if any, from before. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Aqueous Chemistry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Aqueous Chemistry essays

  1. The effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination.

    This trial experiment helped me plan out my method for my final experiment as well because I then knew exactly which variables would have to be kept constant. I tested twenty seeds in a cold environment with 10cm� of water and plenty of oxygen and light.

  2. Acid Rain

    Ammonia mixes with sulfur dioxide and forms ammonium sulfate. This product forms on the surface of the trees. When ammonium sulfate reaches the soils, it reacts to create both sulfuric and nitric acid. Such conditions also stimulate the growth of fungi and pests like the ambrosia beetle.

  1. To investigate the effects of acid rain on statues

    Wear safety glasses and apron. Follow directions carefully. Make sure I am using the correct chemicals in correct quantities. Do not do experiments of my own devising without checking with my teacher. Write down my observations as soon as I have made them.

  2. Formation and Effects of Acid Rain.

    Nitrogen oxides are generated mostly from cars and since many people had cars to commute a lot was produced. The UK is an Economically Developed Country (MEDc) and therefore has access to a wide range of technologies, which too, added to the formation of acid rain.

  1. Acid Rain

    The damage the acid rain as on the structures depends mainly on the acidity of the rain, (the more acidic the greater the damage is caused). Acid rain wears rocks down gradually over long periods of time, this can be devastating, causing bridges to collapse or become so unstable they can not been used safely.

  2. Acid Rain

    HAPS can cause serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, nervous system problems, and deaths that are all due to people accidentally letting them go into the air. House and car paint as well as the manufacturing of lead batteries, fishing lures, certain parts of bullets, some ceramic ware, water pipes, and fixtures, release lead.

  1. Acid rain in Europe

    actually far away from Scandinavia, it was coming from Britain and Northern Europe. Acid rain is an international problem and pollution can be dispersed by the winds causing problems far from the source of pollution as Scandinavia found in the 1950's.

  2. Investigating the kinetics involved in the reaction of metals with acids.

    To create accurate results, the all the concentrations should be carried out two more times. Once the times have been recorded for hydrochloric acid, repeat the experiment with ethanoic acid using the same concentrations. Firstly heat the water to 60oC, using the thermometer in the water to measure the temperature.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work