Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Public Health

pp 2-3

Acid Rain


Ecosystem acidification; Acid deposition; Acid precipitation


Acid rain is a popular term for the effect that certain air pollutants, combined with atmospheric moisture, have on almost the entire ecosystem – soil, water resources, and pertaining flora and fauna in certain highly polluted areas of the world. It means that ecosystem acidification is a regional effect of air pollution, and the final consequence in a series of chemical reactions. It is nowadays one of the most serious environmental problems. Complex chemical processes include atmospheric precipitation of acid substances (acid rain), and consecutive chemical changes in soil components and water resources, often microbiologically induced. Adverse environmental consequences are often noticeable (e. g. damage to vegetation, especially in forestlands; and erosion of structures built of stone), but human health impairments, due to environmental degradation, are also possible. The main causes of ecosystem a ...

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