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Was It Acid Rain Itch?
Was It Acid Rain Itch?
Something in Jean's environment was not agreeing with her and it was causing her skin to itch. Could acid rain be the cause?
Mysteries of Science
Dr. Gilleo
Mysteries of Science by Dr. Ken Gilleo
Dr. Gilleo is a chemist, inventor and general problem solver. Ken has been tracking industrial forensics and collecting case histories for decades. These cases are taken from the vast world of industry and commercial enterprise.

Check out Dr. Gilleo's eBook, 100 Mysteries Solved by Science. We hope you enjoy these case histories. You need not be an engineer or scientist to understand the problems and appreciate the solutions.
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It became clear to Jean something in her new environment was not agreeing with her. Her skin was itchy and her complexion had a ruddy red coloration. She had no eye or noise symptoms that would point to an allergy such as pollen.

Whenever she would leave for a few days the problem would start to clear up.  Her water was tested and was found to be free of bacteria with a low mineral count.

The water was a bit on the acidic side and alkaline water would have been more likely.

The rain water on the east coast had been getting more and more acidic due to coal burning in the big power plants scattered all around. The sulfur in the coal formed sulfur oxide gases that were absorbed by rain.

Could acid rain be causing Jean's skin problems?

Here's the rest of the story.

Acid rain didn't seem likely but maybe the acidic water was still involved.

Jean had never had an allergy but recalled that wearing jewelry caused problems and she had not worn any for many years. A wedding band, ear rings and almost anything metal caused her skin to redden.  Even gold was a problem unless it was pure 24 karat. Lower karat gold is typically alloyed with copper to give it strength without altering the color. This suggested a somewhat rare copper metal allergy. So was this the problem in the new house, copper?

A look at the white sinks showed the tell-tale green stain from copper in the water. The acidic water was dissolving a small amount of copper from pipes and that was all it took to cause the copper skin allergy reaction.

The solution was simply, add a water purifier or use bottled water for washing.

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