Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is produced by power plants and industries that burn fossil fuels that contain sulfur, such as coal and oil, and by the phosphate industry through its production of sulfuric acid. Sulfur dioxide is irritating to the lungs and can result in a higher incidence of respiratory disease.
Florida has made great strides in controlling sulfur dioxide since the early 1970s when control strategies were first implemented, but occasional violations of the ambient air standard do occur.
These are usually associated with accidental releases at industrial facilities. Through its enforcement powers, the Department of Environmental Protection requires that industry determine the cause of any upset and take steps to prevent it's recurrence.
With the passage of the Federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the emissions of sulfur dioxide from power plants have been reduced significantly. As of the year 2000, power plants across the nation have reduced their sulfur dioxide emissions by about one-half. This should help ensure that Florida does not suffer the harmful effects of acid rain that have occurred elsewhere.
Last updated: September 11, 2013