Acid rain is likely to fall from the skies in Hawaii over the next few days — but scientists say it won't be harmful and is far from the main volcano hazard residents should worry about.
Instead, it's breathing the noxious gases and avoiding the lava from the erupting Kilauea volcano that should be their main concerns.
University of Hawaii meteorologist Steven Businger told Hawaii News Now there's not much of a health hazard associated with acid rain for most residents, saying "it's really about the least of their worries."
He says it is not concentrated enough to really have much effect on most people's skin, eyes or hair.
Sasha Madronich, an atmospheric chemist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, agreed, saying that the level of acid in the rain would be so small that it won't be perceptible: "I wouldn't expect people there would feel any acidity."
Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in a lake affected by acid rain, is no more dangerous to humans than walking in normal rain or swimming in non-acidic lakes, the Environmental Protection Agency said.
Madronich said one problem from acid rain would be when it falls on metal — which then would dissolve and seep into the ground, potentially affecting trees.
He said it could also cause metal rooftops to rust more quickly. It can also damage cars, as well as statues and monuments, the EPA said.
And as the rain falls, it would tend to become less acidic, he added.