Nitric acid is commonly used in food processing, as fertilizer and as an oxidizing agent for rocket fuels. It also contains chemical properties necessary for certain explosives.
When used as a fertilizer, nitric acid promotes rapid growth in plants. It can be unhealthy to the environment if it is deposited into water sources, as it promotes the growth of algae that can deoxygenize water and harm aquatic life.
Nitric acid is also used to remove calcium and magnesium deposits in dairy processing factories, as well as an etching agent for use on metals. It is used to create components for the explosive trinitrotoluene, commonly known as TNT, as well as plastic explosives.