The Toxicity Of Sulfur Dioxide Environmental Sciences Essay

This work should be about the factors that contribute to the usage of compounds that emit the gas, harmful effects of S dioxide to the environment and human wellness, and the necessary steps that the policy shapers undertake in order to incorporate its pollution. Besides include decisions on some of these control steps.

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In this paper, we tackle sulfur dioxide pollution that has become a concern of many states around the universe in the recent yesteryear due to its harmful effects that were one time overlooked. Because of its inauspicious effects on the environment and human wellness, both governmental and non-governmental bureaus pile force per unit area in both developed and developing economic systems ‘ authoritiess to hold control and set cheques and balances on the emanation of S dioxide.

We peculiarly focus on most developed states like the US which try to minimise on the inauspicious effects of emanations of this gas, and some development states which view the usage of coal, the main subscriber to the pollution, as the lone low-cost agencies to industrialise. These advocates argue that coal is the cheapest signifier of energy that can guarantee rapid industrialisation to immature economic systems.

In our decision, we recommend to every state, whether developed or undeveloped, should take the enterprise to restrict the S dioxide pollution since the negative effects will return to stalk the same economic system that they aspire to do bud and flourish.

Cardinal words: S dioxide, pollution and control.


Most industries use electricity for production intents because it is an low-cost beginning of energy that may non ensue into higher production costs. This advantage has promoted the usage of coal, which is a major pollutant of S dioxide together with some Green House Gases ( GHGs ) . Other minor beginnings include natural gas which is chiefly methane since it has considerable sums of S as drosss, and the non- reacted S dioxide during the Contact Process of Sulfuric Acid industry.

The pollution of S dioxide has been a job in the United States and Canada every bit good as developing states like China, Chile, Korea, Thailand and others because of its consequence on the environment and human wellness. The committedness to commanding the emanation of S dioxide was depicted when the US senate passed the Clean Air act of 1970 which has non merely achieved a batch in salvaging human lives but besides the ecological systems. In China, where coal is being used to provide approximately 70 % of the state ‘s energy demand, the effects of the concentration of the S dioxide gas in the ambiance is already taking a toll on the most valued centuries old edifices like The Temple of Heaven in Beijing ( Wang et al, 2004 ) .

The construct of toxicology of the S dioxide can non be discussed without speaking about dose that must be considered before declaring the effects to be inauspicious. While every substance may be considered toxic if the dose is high, sulfur dioxide affects lungs and the bosom causation diseases even at really low doses ( Connolly, 2009 ) . This gas may impact the lungs at doses for every bit low as 10 ppm though this may besides depend on the continuance of exposure every bit good as single susceptibleness ( Faustman, 2008 ) .

Harmonizing to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the clean air act which was amended in 1990 will hold by 2010 saved about 170, 000 lives of the US citizens who would hold perished from unwellnesss related to sulphur dioxide pollution. In add-on, the decrease of the S dioxide emanation in China would assist them salvage about 2 % of their national budget. ( Wang et al, 2004 )

The pilot undertakings of commanding pollution have been initiated in many states but hampered by deficiency of adequate resources, limited legal foundation to endorse the undertakings, weaker jurisprudence enforcement establishments and deficiency of high degree support. These were the same jobs China besides faced in its command to advance cap-and-trade policy of cut downing the sum of S dioxide in the air after teaming with US EPA in 1999 ( IEA, 2002 ) .

Among the steps that most states take to command the effects of S dioxide is cap-and-trade policy where each house that is a major defiler is allocated the sum of S dioxide in dozenss that it is allowed to breathe in the environment in a twelvemonth but pays for it. If a house emits say 60 % of the allocated allowance, in a twelvemonth, it is allowed to merchandise off the staying 40 % of the emanation allowance with a heavy defiler at a fee. Trade-and-cap policy has besides been adapted in states like Korea, Canada, Thailand and Chile. In these states it has aid cut down the sum of S dioxide emanations drastically. Other methodological analysiss that the governments can use include insisting on a policy on green energy. This would guarantee that new autos that use rechargeable batteries. Wind, solar and hydro-electric energy should besides be promoted in order to cut down the effects of S dioxide and the GHGs to manageable degrees. The authoritiess besides use bid and control attack in make up one’s minding the content of S of gasolene fuels used by motor vehicles every bit good as aeroplanes. This work seeks to happen the effectual methods that the states should use in order to cut down the sum of emanations since it will no longer be a individual state ‘s job, but the universe ‘s.

Literature Review

Belnalp et Al ( 1993 ) defines pollution to imply a mixture of atmospheric fume, oxides of N, dust that is rich in minerals, S dioxide and nitrogen-based acidifying compounds and photo- oxidizers like ozone and other air toxins. Whereas many other compounds are included in this definition, we are traveling to restrict this work to the S dioxide ‘s pollution in the ambiance.

Many research workers have concentrated into uncovering whether the inauspicious effects of S dioxide are any thing to worry approximately as the universe. Goodman ( 2010 ) states that S dioxide is toxic to the normal metabolic procedures and homeostasis when the dose is comparatively high. He besides argues that even some metals like Mns are needed by the organic structure in hint or little measures but in higher doses they become toxic.

Over the past 10 old ages, the Chinese SEPA has been look intoing the cap-and-trade policy as used in the United States to happen a manner of cut downing the effects of the acid rain and respiratory complaints that are associated with S dioxide pollution.

Hale ( 1981 ) contends that the natural background concentrations of S dioxide is normally between 0.28 to 2.8 mg/cm3 but besides warns that near pollution countries, it normally rises to every bit high as 200 mg/cm3. This adversely affects lichens as they can non last when subjected to sulphur dioxide exposure of over 60mg/cm3. Similarly Pike ( 1978 ) besides reminds of the built-in function that is played by the lichens in the food and hydrological rhythms in the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest.

Peterson et Al ( 1982 ) , besides expresses concerns over the deteriorating criterions of air quality that is sensitive and ecologically important to beings and lichens since pollution affects the physiological procedures of lichens in the Pacific Northwest. Pollutants, in which S dioxide signifiers major portion, affect lichens so that they are non effectual in the proviso of beginnings of eatage, nesting stuff and shelter for invertebrates, mammals and birds. The hydrological rhythm is besides altered in the event that pollution inhibits the flourishing of lichens. The lichens hole N at the old-grown woods and late-successional woods that have clean air quality ( McCune1993 ) .

In a survey conducted by Dhargalkar ( 1985 ) , on behalf on Portland Cement Manufacturers in the US in command to measure the comparative ability of Fabric Filters ( FFs ) and Electrostatic Precipitators ( EPPs ) in cut downing the S dioxide from the kiln during cement processing, the consequences which were obtained from the Air Emission and Compilation strongly suggested that both EPPs and FFs have tantamount degrees in executing such a undertaking as cut downing the emanation of this pollutant from the kiln or the pre-heater system. This survey was conducted in order to conform to the criterions that were set by the US EPA that the sum of S dioxide emitted from coal-burning kilns had to be reduced or traded off when necessary.

Harmonizing to Widico and Dhargalkar ( 1985 ) , the nucleus equation that is normally involved in the S dioxide scouring in the coal-burning kilns when the temperatures fall below 100oC is given as: 2Ca ( OH ) 2 + 2SO2 +1/2 H2O+ 1/2 O2 a†’ CaSO3 + A? H2O + CaSO4 + 2H2O. Whereas at higher temperatures above 100oC, harmonizing to Miller ( 2001 ) , the equation takes this signifier:

CaO + SO2 + A? O2 a†’ CaSO4

For the above procedure to obtain optimal consequences, speedy Lime ( calcium oxide ) should be finely grounded to increase the surface country for responding with the S dioxide gas. The clip allowed for contact should besides be short for effectual scouring procedure ( Taylor 2001 ) .

Cap-and-Trade Methodology

The cap is used to put up a national bound on emanations, which is with clip lowered to cut down the sum of pollutants in the ambiance within a national boundary. The trade will besides guarantee that sulfur dioxide allowance for heavy houses that use coal-burning workss run into their bound. In instance they emit less, they pay less and besides allowed to sell the extra right to other houses at a fee ( Wang et al, 2004 ) . This acts as an inducement to sulphur dioxide emitters to foul less, hence spend less.

Cap and trade has succeeded rapidly in cut downing related complaints and the effects of acerb rain in the US since the Congress and President George H.W Bush introduced the Clean Air Policy in 1990 as a precursor to acid rain. The plan yielded about a 99 % conformity rate in acid rain and impressive economic and environmental consequences. ( EDF, 2009 )

The accomplishment merely utilized a fraction of money that was budgeted for by EPA. They had planned to pass $ 6 billion yearly but ended up utilizing $ 1.1 billion which was less than 40 % of the prognosis.

Clean Energy Methodology

Another option that the authoritiess of the heavy polluting states use and should be rigorous on is the usage of clean energy engineering. Clean Energy Technology has been used to mention to the usage of energy beginnings that emit fewer pollutants or do non breathe at all. Harmonizing to IEA ( 2009 ) , the primary energy demand is set to lift to about 40 % by the twelvemonth 2030. Asiatic developing states are projected to be the chief cause of addition in demand. This requires alteration in policies that tilt toward the clean energy engineering as fossil fuels will most likely contribute about 70 % of the entire energy addition. The continued heavy dependance on coal is likely to increase the degrees of S dioxide emanations and GHGs. The dashing undertaking in this policy would be to run into the challenge of providing energy to the approximately 1.6 billion people who do non entree modern energy services and 2 billion who rely on traditional beginnings of fuel.

Clean energy engineerings like solar power, air current energy, rechargeable batteries will assist to maintain our ambiances clean but it may non be executable in many states. In the Torrid Zones for illustration, air current and solar energy options may work good with a good investing substructure but may non work in states like the US and most parts of Europe since winter seasons may do solar power coevalss undependable. The usage of low-sulfur coal may besides be referred to as the “ clean ” coal engineering but this can be subjected to a batch of scientific discipline political relations as to whether it is really clean.

Car and air power fuel Control Methodology

Car and air power industries besides emit considerable sums of S dioxide into the ambiance. This is because of the S that exists in the fuel as drosss since like any other crude oil merchandises ; sulfur exists in the jet fuels and gasolene every bit good. Since it is non easy to crest the emanation of S dioxide pollution in these two industries, the environmental jurisprudence hatchet mans should purely predominate upon the crude oil companies to cut down the sum of S in these fuels to very lower degrees.

The cap and trade policy that was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund had worked good during the 1980s to cut down the pollution effects of sulfur dioxide such as acerb rain, bosom disease and lung complaints. Soon, the US federal authorities is passing about $ 10 billion yearly to turn to the effects of clime alteration and S dioxide emanations which include the part of the civil air power industries ( Forbes, 2008 )

Harmonizing to Bloomberg ( 2008 ) , about two-thirds of the emanations of S dioxide from air power industry is from intercontinental flights. This calls for strict regulations on cap-and-trade policy as the industry non merely requires such steps to cut down S dioxide emanations, but besides green House Gases. Bruton ( 2008 ) argues that the recent coaction between US and EU to cut down the emanations from the air power industry by five per centum does little to cut down the pollution effects that come from this sector. This is because air traffic grows at 5 % yearly intending that the rate of emanation will still increase at approximately 4 % per annum.

Even though the oppositions from the air power industry see the cap-and-trade as an excess revenue enhancement that will be a load to them, this sector ‘s pollution does non concentrate the pollution within a specific boundary line but fast distributes the effects to the whole universe.


In decision, the S dioxide pollution must be a conjunct attempt of the all people ; environmental and non-governmental bureaus every bit good as governmental organisations. This is because of its effects on cut downing the lifetime in human existences. In certain instances, cap-and-trade control methods work but should be reinforced with bid and control based attacks in order to guarantee entire conformity from all sectors.


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