Atmospheric Deposition

Last updated: January 31, 2017

What Does Atmospheric Deposition Mean?

Atmospheric deposition refers to the phenomenon through which pollutants, including gases and particles are deposited from the atmosphere in the form as dust or in precipitation, ultimately entering fresh water systems. This process allows pollutants to be deposited far from their source, making it difficult to determine their specific source.

Safeopedia Explains Atmospheric Deposition

Various environmental problems resulting from the atmospheric deposition of pollutants have been observed by the EPA. The acidification of waters is of particular concern, as is the build-up of toxic materials in sediments. For example, the EPA monitors the Great Lakes for persistent organic toxins, most of which are believed to have entered this environment through atmospheric deposition. They warn that the toxins are present in higher concentrations in fish and that consuming fish taken from polluted waters can present a danger to human health.


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