Impacts of Ammonia Ammonia impacts both the environment and human health. * Environmental Impacts * Human Health Impacts Environmental Impacts When in gaseous form, ammonia has a short atmospheric lifetime of about 24 hours and usually deposits near its source . In particulate form ammonia can travel much further impacting a larger area. Both gaseous and particulate ammonia contribute to eutrophication of surface waters, soil acidification, fertilization of vegetation, changes in ecosystems ,and smog and decreased visibility in case of major gas . Eutrophication
Eutrophication is a result of nutrient pollution (from deposition or run-off) into natural waters (creeks, rivers, ponds, or lakes).
Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favors certain weedy species over others, and is likely to cause severe reductions in water quality. In aquatic environments, enhanced growth of choking aquatic vegetation or algal blooms disrupt normal functioning of the ecosystem, causing problems such as a lack of oxygen in the water, needed for fish and other aquatic life to survive. The water then becomes cloudy, colored a shade of green, yellow, brown, or red.
When ammonia reaches the soil surface, it usually reacts with water in the soil and is converted into its ionic form, ammonium (NH4+) and absorbes to the soil. The ammonium in the soil eventually disassociates or is nitrified into nitrite (NO2-) or nitrate (NO3-) by nitrifying bacteria, releasing H+ ions into the soil (3, 4). If not taken up by biomass and converted to methane, the surplus H+ ions eventually lead to the formation of an acidic soil environment. The nitrogen left over in the soil will either be taken up by plants, stored in the soil, returned to the atmosphere, or will be removed from the soil in runoff or leaching (3).
Fertilization of Vegetation Fertilization of vegetation by ammonia occurs in much the same way as applying fertilizer to the soil; however, in this case ammonia gas from the air deposits on the leaf or soil surface at the base of the plant and is taken up by the plant. Changes in plant growth can then occur, similar to those resulting from fertilization. In a grass plains environment, changes may be subtle; however, in natural or mountain areas, changes in plant species may be more obvious, promoting weedy plants while choking out native plants and wild flowers or promoting grasses and sages.
Changes in Ecosystems An ecosystem is a natural system consisting of plants, animal, and other microorganisms functioning together in a balanced relationship. Changes in ecosystems due to ammonia deposition occur through a combination of all the above mentioned processes. When changes in ecosystems occur, the natural balance of a system is disrupted and fragile plant and animal species can be replaced by non-native or N-responsive species. The disruption of an ecosystem can cause it to adapt by changing (positive or negative outcome), or a disruption may lead to the extinction of the ecosystem.
Smog and Decreased Visibility When ammonia combines with NOx emissions from other plant processes it forms fine particulates. These fine particulates are a contributor to haze/smog and decreased visibility . In sase of a major gas leak the ammonia cloud leads to decreased visibility. Smog is also a human health issue leading to an increased rate of respiratory and heart diseases. Human Health Impacts Ammonia effects human and animal health both as a gas and as a particulate.
The particulate form of ammonia has broader implications for the general public, where as the gaseous form is a localized concern for the health of animals and agricultural workers. When in fine particulate form, ammonium particles pose a risk to human health. Such small diameter particles are able to be respired and travel deep into lung tissue to the alveoli causing a variety of respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, asthma, coughing, and chemical pneumoconitis Ammonia gas is a highly hydrophilic base that has irritant properties when inhaled which, when combined with water, can injure and burn the respiratory tract .
The base form of ammonia, ammonium hydroxide, dissolves in the water of mucus membranes, hydrolyzes, and rapidly irritates tissues due to the high pH that results . Ammonia can also alter the uptake of oxygen by hemoglobin due to the increase of pH within the blood , which leads to decreased oxygenation of tissues, and decreased metabolic function. . Prolonged exposure at mild levels can result in the transfusion of ammonia from the alveoli into the bloodstream and a subsequent disruption of oxygen uptake by hemoglobin.
At high concentrations (>150 ppm) ammonia can scar lung tissue, cause lower lung inflammation and pulmonary edema. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia (500 to 5000 ppm) will cause death in a relatively short time period from prevention of oxygen uptake by hemoglobin . (Colorado sate university ;2008 ) Impacts of( NOX’s) nitrogen oxides * Environmental impacts * Health impacts Environmental impacts NOx causes a wide variety of health and environmental impacts because of various compounds and derivatives in the family of nitrogen oxides, including nitrogen dioxide, nitric acid, nitrous oxide, nitrates, and nitric oxide.
The impacts include acid rain , acid deposition , ground ozone level ,water quality deterioration ,global warming ,visibility impairement Acid Rain – NOx with other substances in the air to form acids, which fall to earth as rain, fog, snow or dry particles. Some may be carried by wind for hundreds of miles. Acid rain damages; causes deterioration of cars, buildings and historical monuments; and causes lakes and streams to become acidic and unsuitable for many fish Nitric Acid Deposition
Nitrogen oxides exists in several different forms and is an essential element to plant and animal growth. Nitrogen oxides are considered a pollutant when it exists in high enough concentrations to cause acid deposition or ecosystem eutrophication (excessive nutrient enrichment). NOX in the form of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is very reactive in the atmosphere, becoming nitric acid which is a key contributor to acid conditions. Acid deposition may cause significant stress to lakes, streams, and forest ecosystems, especially to those at higher elevations.
Acidification is classified in two forms: Episodic acidification is characterized by short intense acidic events. For example, winter snowmelt and heavy rains can deliver large loads of acid to ecosystems in a short period of time. These can have significant biological effects that include the loss of biodiversity and changes in community structure. Chronic acidification generally refers to streams, lakes, and soil ecosystems that have lost their ability to neutralize acidifying events.
Base nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and other types of neutralizing chemicals buffer changes in ecosystem acidity. However, when ecosystems are exposed to excessive, long-term acid deposition these chemicals become depleted. This can make the system more vulnerable to episodic acidification events and may lead to chronic surface water acidity . Ecological impacts of acid deposition on soil ,forest ,freshwater include ; Base Nutrient Depletion: Acidification of soils causes the removal of nutrients (a process known as leaching) from terrestrial ecosystems.
These nutrients, known as base cations, are critical in neutralizing acids. As forest soils lose nutrient cations, they become more vulnerable to further acidification, and, as a result, trees become more sensitive to disease and stress. Aluminum Toxicity: The release of the heavy metal aluminum from the soil due to increased acid deposition can create unsuitable living conditions for many freshwater fish species. High concentrations and extensive exposure of lakes and streams to aluminum is a main symptom of systems suffering from chronic acidification.
Nitrogen Saturation: Nitrogen saturation occurs when excessive additions of nitrogen overwhelm an ecosystems’ capacity to store nitrogen. Since nitrogen is a nutrient normally in limited supply in forest and estuarine ecosystems, the addition of large amounts of nitrogen from nitric acid deposition can have significant ecological effects. At first, increased nitrogen inputs may stimulate forest growth, but too much nitrogen in ecosystems overwhelms the holding capacity of these systems and eventually causes soil, forest, and aquatic ecosystem degradation.
Eutrophication (nutrient enrichment): When nitric acid enters terrestrial and aquatic systems from the atmosphere, a portion of this added nitrogen eventually reaches upper limit threshold values with the potential to create eutrophic conditions. Increased inputs of anthropogenic (human) nitrogen have caused harmful impacts on coastal ecosystems that include hypoxia/anoxia (low oxygen levels), fish and shellfish kills, and changes in algal community composition. Biodiversity in coastal ecosystems can be greatly threatened under these ecologically-stressed conditions.
Ground-level Ozone (Smog) Is formed when NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of heat and sunlight. Children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside, are susceptible to adverse effects such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function. Ozone can be transported by wind currents, and can cause health impacts far from original sources . Other impacts from ozone include damaged vegetation and reduced crop yields. Water Quality Deterioration – Increased nitrogen loading in water bodies, particularly coastal estuaries, upsets the chemical balance of nutrients used by aquatic plants and animals. Additional nitrogen accelerates “eutrophication,” which leads to oxygen depletion and reduces fish and shellfish populations. NOx emissions in the air are one of the largest sources of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Global Warming – One member of the NOx, nitrous oxide, is a greenhouse gas. It accumulates in the atmosphere kyith other greenhouse gasses causing a gradual rise in the earth’s temperature.
This will lead to increased risks to human health, a rise in the sea level, and other adverse changes to plant and animal habitat. Toxic Chemicals – In the air, NOx reacts readily with common organic chemicals and even ozone, to form a wide variety of toxic products, some of which may cause biological mutations. Examples of these chemicals include the nitrate radical, nitroarenes, and nitrosamines. Visibility Impairment – Nitrate particles and nitrogen dioxide can block the transmission of light, reducing visibility . HEALTH IMPACTS OF NOX
Current scientific evidence links short-term NO2 exposures, ranging from 30 minutes to 24 hours, with adverse respiratory effects including airway inflammation in healthy people and increased respiratory symptoms in people with asthma. NOx react with ammonia, moisture, and other compounds to form small particles. These small particles penetrate deeply into sensitive parts of the lungs and can cause or worsen respiratory disease, such as emphysema and bronchitis, and can aggravate existing heart disease, leading to increased hospital admissions and premature death.
Ozone is formed when NOx and volatile organic compounds react in the presence of heat and sunlight. Children, the elderly, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside are at risk for adverse effects from ozone. These include reduction in lung function and increased respiratory symptoms as well as respiratory-related emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and possibly premature deaths. IMPACTS OF NITRATES * Environmental impacts * Health impacts Environmental impacts
Ammonium nitrates have a variety of environmental impacts to include eutrophication ,soil acidification ,mineral leaching , ground and surface water contamination ,ecosystem change ,emission of nitrogen dioxides and vegetation destruction and enhancement Eutrophication Eutrophication – “The process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, especially nitrates. These typically promote excessive growth of algae. Eutrophication is a result of nutrient pollution (from deposition or run-off) into natural waters (lentic and or lotic).
Eutrophication generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favors certain weedy species over others, thus eutrophication reduces aquatic biodiversity and is likely to cause severe reductions in water quality as a result of increase in chemical oxygen demand(COD) , and biological oxygen demand (BOD) leading to decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO ) In aquatic environments, enhanced growth of choking aquatic vegetation or algal blooms disrupt normal functioning of the ecosystem, causing problems such as a lack of oxygen in the water, needed for fish and other aquatic life to survive.
The water then becomes cloudy, colored a shade of green, yellow, brown, or red thus eutrophication increases the turbidity of water bodies . Nitrates also have an effect of increasing the amount of total dissolved solids in natural freshwater systems . Soil Acidification When ammonium nitrate reaches the soil surface, it usually reacts with water in the soil and is converted into its ionic form, ammonium (NH4+) and absorbes to the soil. The ammonium in the soil eventually disassociates or is nitrified into nitrite (NO2-) or nitrate (NO3-) by nitrifying bacteria, releasing H+ ions into the soil.
If not taken up by biomass and converted to methane, the surplus H+ ions eventually lead to the formation of an acidic soil environment. The nitrogen left over in the soil will either be taken up by plants, stored in the soil, returned to the atmosphere, or will be removed from the soil in runoff or leaching . The other problem of continuous soil acidification is that it disrupts the soil buffering capacity of aluminum toxicity . Aluminum Toxicity: Aluminum toxicity occurs readily under acidic conditions, especially when pH values are equal to or less than 5. . In the acidic soils of the tropics, aluminum toxicity may become a serious problem and it affects vegetation growth thus it reduces biological diversity. High concentrations and extensive exposure of lakes and streams to aluminum is a main symptom of systems suffering from chronic acidification. Leaching Excess amounts of ammonium nitrates will result in nutrient leaching . Nutrient leaching is the downward movement of dissolved nutrients in the soil profile percolating with water. Nutrients are leached below the rooting zone of the vegetation .
Leached nutrients may contribute to ground water contamination . Nitrate leaching is also a significant source of soil acidification . Nitrates are easily particularly leached because they show negligible interaction with negatively charged matrix of most top soils and is there for very mobile in soil. As a consequence ,leaching may contribute significantly to negative nitrogen imbalances of ecosystems Water contamination Excessive amounts of nitrates lead to ground water contamination as well as surface water contamination . The major g round water pollution is as a result of nutrient leaching .
The extend of ground water pollution is affected mainly by the water table ,type of vegetation and soil type . Surface water contamination is usually as result of nutrient deposition and or nutrient runoff . The main impact of the enrichment of nitrates in water is eutrophication ;others include aluminum poisoning and conditions such as methamoglobin in fish and in humans the condition is known as blue baby syndrome . Ecosystem change An ecosystem is a natural system consisting of plants, animal, and other microorganisms functioning together in a balanced relationship.
Changes in ecosystems due to nitrates deposition occur through a combination of variety of processes. When changes in ecosystems occur, the natural balance of a system is disrupted and fragile plant and animal species can be replaced by non-native or N-responsive species. The disruption of an ecosystem can cause it to adapt by changing (positive or negative outcome), or a disruption may lead to the extinction of the ecosystem. Aquatic ecosystem are usually affected due to eutrophication and this tend to affect diversity of species and also tend to affect other species reproduction signals via process like chemotaxis .
Nitrogen levels an NOX emissions(nitrogen cycle analysis)_ Nitrate pollution tends to affect the nitrogen cycle . As a result of high nitrates level there is bias on the nitrogen cycle . In high nitrate pollutant areas there tend to be moire of denitrification bacteria’s than in normal ecosystems . Decomposition of nitrates yields oxides of nitrogen which are green house gases that cause global warming also yielded during decomposition of nitrates is increased levels of nitrogen . Human Health
Health impacts to humans and animal life occur from drinking water, and/or eating foods high in nitrate such as vegetables and meat. In humans, pregnant women are advised to avoid high nitrate water because of research showing possible connections to birth defects and miscarriages. Also, babies under 6 months, may get a disease commonly called, Blue Baby Syndrome, or medically called Methemoglobinemia. Babies have low intestinal acidity (or a higher intestinal pH), which allows a bacteria to convert nitrate to nitrite.
Nitrite is absorbed and combines with hemoglobin to form methemoglobin, which depletes the blood of oxygen. Early human symptoms include a bluish tint to fingers, lips, and other extremities. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, lethargy, syncope, dyspnea, coma, arrhythmias, shock, and convulsions. Even with treatment brain damage or death can occur. Nitrates are also known to increase the amount of nitrosamines compounds in human body ,thus constant exposure to nitrates are known to cause kidney overworking and other kidney associated medical conditions .
Cite this Impacts of Ammonia
Impacts of Ammonia. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/impacts-of-ammonia/