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Our Glaciers: Then and Now activity kit helps you see the changes taking place in glaciers around the world. See all our activity kits and classroom activities.
This building in Copola, Mexico, has been damaged by acid rain.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of UCAR Digital Image Library

Air Pollution to Property

In addition to damaging the environment and human health, air pollution can harm buildings, monuments, outdoor statues, and other such structures. The acidic properties of air pollution corrode materials such as sandstone, limestone, mortar, and different metals. Acid rain dissolves calcium carbonate, a substance found in different types of stone, and leaves crystals behind. The crystals grow and create cracks in the stone.

Repairing the damage, particularly to historic structures, can be very expensive. The National Center for Preservation Technology & Training studies the environmental effects of pollution on cultural resources and works to restore and protect historic structures and monuments.

Homeowners also pay a price for air pollution. Acid rain can dissolve paint and corrode aluminum siding, while dirt particles in the air diminish a home's aesthetic appearance.

Last modified February 7, 2006 by Jennifer Bergman.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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