Odysseus’s orders to his old nurse cited above sound strange taken out of context. With the burnt element’s acrid odor, the returned traveler wanted to cleanse his rooms polluted by the presence of his wife’s suitors. In more ordinary circumstances, burning of sulfur—usually not directly but as a part of fossil fuels—does anything but “cleanse all pollution”: combustion of coal and oil products, and also processing of hydrocarbons and smelting of nonferrous metals, now appear to be the single largest terrestrial input into the element’s complex global cycle, the inflow resulting in worrisome regional environmental degradation simplifyingly labeled as “acid rain.”


Sulfur Compound Acid Deposition National Atmospheric Deposition Program Sulfur Emission National Atmospheric Deposition Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vaclav Smil
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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