Myths and Facts
About the Environment --
Part IV: Acid Rain

Myth: Acid rain has caused a large portion of U.S. lakes to become acidic.

Fact: In a recent study of 7,000 Northeastern lakes, only 3.4% were found to be acidic. Most of these lakes are just as acidic as they were before the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, most of the acidic lakes in the United States are in Florida, where there is the least acid rain.

Myth: Data taken by proponents of the acid rain theory is accurate and conclusive.

Fact: Proponents of the acid rain theory have rested their claims on a deeply flawed series of articles by G.E. Likens and his co-workers in the 1970s. A careful evaluation of Likens' research conducted by a group of scientists at Environmental Research and Technology, Inc., reveals that his data collection and selection was deliberately biased to support the desired conclusions.

Myth: Acid rain destroys vegetation.

Fact: Acid rain actually has a positive impact on vegetation. The nitrogen and sulfur characteristic of acid rain, act as nutrients essential for plant growth. The world's first acid rain study concluded that, "the principle effect of acid rain is the improvement of crop yields and crop protein content."

Myth: Acid Rain is unnatural.

Fact: Rainwater is naturally acidic. Because water is such a good solvent, even in the cleanest air, rainwater dissolves some of the naturally present carbon dioxide, forming carbonic acid. According to EPA regulations, Ph levels any lower than 5.0 are environmentally harmful. Yet, an analysis of ice from the Antarctic and the Himalayas, deposited hundreds and thousands of years ago when the environment was presumably pristine, had Ph values ranging from 4.8 to 4.2.

Information from Environmental Overkill by Dixy Lee Ray (Regnery Gateway, 1993); Trashing the Planet by Dixy Lee Ray (Regnery Gateway, 1990).

Issue Date: August 20, 1996

Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #25, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 Tel. (202) 543-4110, Fax (202)543-5975, [email protected], http://www.nationalcenter/inter.net.


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