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September 26, 2017

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Effects of acid rain with ash rumor denied: expert

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- There is no need to panic over the online rumor that exposure to severe acid rain containing Icelandic volcanic ash would raise the possibility of getting skin cancer, an expert said yesterday.

It is impossible for acid rain to cause skin cancer or baldness, although volcanic ash does contain chemicals, such as sulfide (硫化物), that increase acidity of the rain, said Jeng Fu-tien (鄭福田), professor of Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering of National Taiwan University.

Acid rain usually includes low degrees of acidity, which will not result in serious disease, and people can prevent exposure to harmful rainfall, according to Cheng.

"I've never heard of any confirmed cases where individuals suffer skin cancer or baldness due to acid precipitation... the public do not have to worry about such rumors," Cheng added.

Meanwhile, the existing data showed Taiwan's air quality has not been affected by the volcanic ash in Iceland, a high-latitude country of the North, said the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

The harmful substances also seem unable to travel far enough to pose any danger to Taiwan, which is located in the low latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, explained the EPA.

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