Contamination and Pollution - 20 of 27

Contamination and Pollution FAQs - 27 Found

Do I need to start wearing a rainhat because of acid rain?

No, but it can cause problems. Depending on where you live, maybe you've heard of acid rain. Now, acid rain is not pure acid falling from the sky, but rather it is rainfall or atmospheric moisture that reacts with air pollutants (primarily sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides) to become more acidic than normal. Liquids with a pH less than 7 are acid, and those with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline (or basic). Pure water has a pH of 7, and, generally, rainfall is somewhat on the acidic side (a bit less than 6). Acid rain can have a pH of about 5.0-5.5, and can even be in the 4 range in the northeastern United States, where there are a lot of industries and cars. Around Washington, D.C., the average rain pH is between 4.2 and 4.4.

When you hear or read in the media about the effects of acid rain, you are usually told about the lakes, fish, and trees in New England and Canada. However, we are becoming aware that pollution and acid rain are accelerating the deterioration of buildings and monuments.

Learn more:

USGS Water Science School - Acid Rain

Tags: Pollution, Ecosystems, Acid Rain, Contamination, Water, Education, Chemistry