Reports

Acid Rain: A Serious Regional Environmental Problem

Science  14 Jun 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4142, pp. 1176-1179
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4142.1176

Abstract

At present, acid rain or snow is falling on most of the northeastern United States. The annual acidity value averages about pH 4, but values between pH 2.1 and 5 have been recorded for individual storms. The acidity of precipitation in this region apparently increased about 20 years ago, and the increase may have been associated with the augmented use of natural gas and with the installation of particle-removal devices in tall smokestacks. Only some of the ecological and economic effects of this widespread introduction of strong acids into natural systems are known at present, but clearly they must be considered in proposals for new energy sources and in the development of air quality emission standards.