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What are some things that can change the concentration of hydrogen ions (pH) in water?

Rain water normally has a pH of approximately 5.6.  However, airborne pollutants generated from industrial plants and automobiles burning fossil fuels create nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxides.  These airborne ions can combine with water vapor to form nitric acid and sulfuric acid.  In the presence of such pollution, rain water will become more acidic; as low as pH = 4.0. This acid rain, therefore, has more than 10 fold greater concentrations of hydrogen ions than normal rain water.  When this acid rain runs into lakes, river, or streams, the pH of these bodies of water can be changed to levels that are not compatible with aquatic life.

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