Issues of Use and Disposal

In the past, one of the main issues with production of nitric acid has been the release of nitrogen oxides, particularly nitrogen dioxide, into the atmosphere. Huge steps have been taken in the control of emissions by the industrial sector (see controlling emissions), and transport is now of much greater concern.

diagram: Nitrogen Oxides from human activity




Nitrogen oxides are in fact produced naturally by lightning, and are washed down by rain. This is responsible for much of the "fixed" nitrogen used by plants. Human activity, however, often results in high local levels (from transport in a busy city, for example). The overall contribution from the manufacture of nitric acid is very small.









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