Sulphur Dioxide

September 21, 2015
Sulphur Dioxide

What is sulphur dioxide?

Sulphur dioxide belongs to a group of highly reactive gasses known as the “oxides of sulphur.” The oxides of sulphur react easily to form a number of harmful compounds such as sulphuric acid, sulphurous acid, and sulphate particles.

By trait, sulphur dioxide is a colourless gas with a burnt match smell.

Where does it come from?

The vast majority of sulphur dioxide, an estimated 99%, is produced by human activity. Typically it is generated by any industrial activity that uses materials containing sulphur to generate electricity, though it can also produced by motor vehicles as the result of fuel combustion.

How does it affect our health?

Short term sulphur dioxide exposure can induce wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Long term exposure, on the other hand, can lead to respiratory illness, alterations in the lungs’ defenses, and increased cardiovascular disease.

Breathing complications are more prone to occur in those who are young, old or asthmatic.

Environmental impacts?

Sulphur dioxide is a precursor to acid rain, which can cause acidification of lakes and soils as well as accelerate the deterioration of buildings.

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