The dangers of non-metals to the environment

Essay by vybzdanielleJunior High, 9th gradeB, January 2007

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Among the most harmful and dangerous non-metal compunds are nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulphide. These can cause devastating effects to human beings, plants, animals and the environment. Matals are generaly less harmful, although lead is extremely toxic.

Hydrogen sulphide is a highly toxic gas. It has a very bad smell, often identified in rotten eggs and stink bombs. Hydrogen sulphide interferes with cellular respiration. If inhaled, Hydrogen Sulphide combines with haemoglobin in the bodies of human beings and other mammals. haemoglobin is the substance in blood which carries oxygen to tissues. In combining with the haemoglobin, hydrogen sulphide prevents the transportation of oxygen. Without oxygen, people cannot live. Although hydrogen sulphide is very foul smelling, it can quickly paralyse the sense of smell, overcome the victim, and cause death.It also causes irritation of mucous membrane in the eyes and respiratory tract.

Carbon Monixide is colourless, odourless and tasteless.

People breathing it usually fall asleep without realizing they are poisoned. It prevents haemoglobin from supplying oxygen to the body. This may prove to be fatal. Carbon monoxide is produced when substances containing carbon are burned without oxygen present. Car engines and decaying swamp gas produce it. Continual exposure may lead to heart disease.

Acid rain is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. Rain, snow, sleet, or other wet precipitation that is polluted by sulphuric acid and nitric acid can harm lakes, rivers and streams worldwide, killing fish and wildlife. It damages bridges, buildings, statues by eroding them. High concentrations may harm forests and soil.

When carbon dioxide is in excess, it allows to much sunlight to reach the atmosphere, producing the 'greenhouse effect'. This stimulates significant climatic changes, which may lead to flooding, disrupted weather...