Cement Innovation Stops Acid Rain

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Cement Innovation Stops Acid Rain

A Coating on Buildings Reacts with Sunlight to Neutralize Pollution

By Dan Shapley

Start with acid rain and a dash of cement. Add sunlight. And Viola! Acid rain problem neutralized.

That’s the claim Italcementi, one of Europe’s biggest cement makers, according to the Toronto Star. The secret is a titanium dioxide coating that reacts with sunlight and the sulfur and nitrogen oxides that makes up acid rain to form “harmless” salts. (Why the quotes? The Law of Unintended Consequences has been proved true so many times in the realm of environmental pollution that it’s foolish to accept any claim like this at face value.)

While the technology has some potential to reduce pollution in urban settings, where it can reach its most unhealthy levels, it will only mask the effect of air pollution. And, lest anyone forget, cement manufacturing is one of the most highly polluting industries on Earth.

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