What Causes Acid Rain? How Can It Affect Your Health?

causes of acid rain

It is no surprise that acid rain is a major threat when it comes to climate change and pollution; all of us have been reading about it since high school. But now, it has become a reality and a major threat to the global ecosystem.

Whether you think climate change is a myth or a reality, you cannot escape its consequences. So whether you accept it or not, it is always best to have knowledge about the things that are happening all around us.

So if you wanna have proper knowledge about what causes acid rain, then all you need to do is keep on scrolling through the article.

Acid Rain: An Ingredient Of Climate Change

Acid Rain

Acid rain is a type of natural precipitation that contains high amounts of nitric and sulphuric acids. It has two different types of deposition, both dry and wet.

The wet deposition includes precipitations such as rain, snow, fog, due, and hail. Whereas when it comes to dry deposition, they are mainly smoke and dust.

So basically, acid rain is the acid precipitation or deposition in tain form that contains a high quantity of sulphuric, nitric acid, or dioxide. Harmful gases that get released during the burning of fossil fuels and other atmospheric pollutants are the components that make up acid rain.

This constant acidification of the earth’s surface poses a devastating effect on the global ecosystem. These acidification processes also speed up the process of climate change and, at the same time, global warming.

Over the past few years, since the U.S. 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the levels of pollutants and pollution have been lowered, which generally increases the acidity of the rain.

Although the question of what causes acid rain has been answered and is under control, with the emergence of a new threat, climate change, acid rain has become a concern again.

Climate change is an even more complex environmental concern that is largely affecting globally on a larger magnitude. However, both climate change and acid rain are not independent or disconnected issues, rather, they are connected with a common thread – human causes.

What Are The Causes Of Acid Rain?

Causes Of Acid Rain?

When it comes to different causes of acid rain, there are mainly two distinguished causes of acid rain. And they are categorized as natural and man-made causes.

Natural Causes   

When it comes to natural causes of acid rain, they mostly include rotting vegetables, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, and lightning. Every volcanic eruption releases pollutants. Like sulphuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid, which result in the formation of acid rain.

Through the process of natural vegetation, a huge amount of carbon dioxide gets produced. And at the same time rotting of fruits and vegetables in an anaerobic state produces large amounts of methane. Which are all contributors to acid rain.

Man-Made Causes   

Now when it comes to man-made causes of acid rain, the burning of fossil fuel is the number one contributor. Carbon dioxide emissions, along with nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides from the burning of fossil fuel, transportation, industrial processes, and oil refineries. They mix with water and fall down as acid rain.

It is a misconception that only near heavily industrial areas acid rain are limited; nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide get mix with the air easily and flow away to long distances. So the effects are larger than you can imagine.

How Can It Affect Your Health?

When I talk about acid rain affecting your health, it won’t happen if you swim in a pond or lake that contains acid rainwater or get wet in acid rainwater. Acid rain only affects your body when you inhale those harmful pollutants that get release with acid rain.

If you are expose to harmful gases or toxins like sulfuric and nitric acid, then it will have a severe effect on your health over time. A few of these health problems that can be cause by acid rain are below.

Irritation To The Eyes, Skin, And The Mucous Membrane  

If you come in contact with these two acids in close quarters, then having any of these health diseases is quite obvious. The eyes and skin are very quick to get affect by harmful toxins and pollutants.

Fluids In The Lungs  

Since you have to inhale these pollutants and toxins, the lungs are always in a compromised position. So, fluid formation in your lungs and pulmonary edema are very common.

Dental Erosion   

Acid rain is naturally acidic, with a pH lower than that of normal rain. When acid rain comes into contact with surfaces, it can contribute to the erosion of minerals, including those in teeth.

If acid rainwater is consume or comes into direct contact with the teeth, it can contribute to the demineralization of tooth enamel.

Tooth enamel is primarily compose of minerals, and exposure to acidic substances can weaken and erode this protective layer.

Cardiovascular Problems   

Acid rain is often associate with the presence of fine particulate matter in the air. These particles can be inhale into the respiratory system and can enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, these particles may trigger inflammation and oxidative stress, contributing to the development of cardiovascular problems.

Respiratory Illnesses  

Acid rain can contribute to respiratory illnesses through several mechanisms, primarily by releasing pollutants into the air that can irritate the respiratory system. Acid rain itself is rainwater with a pH level lower than the normal range of 5.6, which is slightly acidic.

Lung Cancer  

While acid rain itself does not cause lung cancer, the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rain can have adverse effects on respiratory health.

When these pollutants are release into the air, they can react with other substances to form fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5 and PM10.

These tiny particles can inhale into the lungs, leading to various respiratory problems and contributing to the development of lung diseases.

Lower Birth Weight  

The relationship between acid rain and lower birth weight is a complex issue that involves various environmental and biological factors. Some studies suggest that exposure to air pollutants, including those associate with acid rain, may be associate with adverse pregnancy outcomes, including lower birth weight.

How Can It Harm The Environment?

Acid rain can harm the environment in several ways, primarily through its impact on soil, water, and vegetation.

Soil Degradation  

Acid rain can lead to the acidification of soil. The acidity can release aluminum from the soil into bodies of water, which can be toxic to aquatic life and negatively affect plant roots.

Water Pollution  

Acid rain can have a significant impact on water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, and streams. When acid rain flows into these water systems, it can lower the pH levels, making the water more acidic.

Aquatic life, particularly fish and other organisms that are sensitive to changes in pH, can be adversely affect. Acidification can disrupt reproductive processes, growth, and the overall health of aquatic ecosystems.

Impact On Wildlife  

The aquatic life in acidified water bodies may suffer due to the depletion of calcium in the water. This can affect the development of fish eggs and the overall health of aquatic species.

Vegetation Damage  

Acid rain can directly damage the leaves and stems of plants by leaching essential nutrients and weakening the plant’s structure. This makes the plants more susceptible to diseases, harsh weather, and other environmental stressors.

Building And Infrastructure Damage  

Acid rain can accelerate the decay of buildings, monuments, and other structures made of limestone, marble, and concrete. This is because the acid reacts with minerals in these materials, causing them to erode over time.

Wrapping Up!  

Well, there you go, to the question of what causes acid rain the answer is both a natural and man-made phenomenon causes acid rain and has destructive and damaging qualities.

And is contributing directly to climate change, causing long term harm. Now if you think that this article is helpful for you, then give it a like and also comment down below at the same time.

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Nabamita Sinha
Nabamita Sinha loves to write about lifestyle and pop-culture. In her free time, she loves to watch movies and TV series and experiment with food. Her favorite niche topics are fashion, lifestyle, travel, and gossip content. Her style of writing is creative and quirky.

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