Ozone Depletion, continued

So as far as were concerned, less ozone means more radiation, and of course, more radiation means more cancer and other harmful repercussions to the environment. Click here for our unit on sunburn. 

Ozone is a world-wide problem. The U.S. banned use of CFCs in 1978, but in many other countries it has not been banned. Most of these countries are phasing out its use.

Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

Normally, we are bombarded with UV radiation that penetrates the earth's atmosphere. However, even more UV gets through the 'hole' in the ozone layer. The CFC caused "hole,"  which is centered of Antarctica, is really just a region of very low ozone concentration. For more information, visit The Antarctic Ozone Hole. The hole gets bigger in September and October for reasons that are not understood. Click here for a brief history on the ozone hole. The University of Cambridge's Ozone Hole Tour provides detailed explanations, with graphics, of the ozone hole and its history.

How can you protect yourself from the dangers that stem from a decrease in the level of ozone? Because avoiding sunlight would be impossible, try to follow these guidelines:

  •     Reduce exposure to the sun, especially around noon
  •     Shade your eyes with sunglasses or a hat 
  •    Use sunscreen designed to block both UVA and UVB radiation 


And now a paradox!     

    Ozone also occurs at ground level, where it is a pollutant.  Motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of ozone. The Clean Air Act requires EPA, states, and cities to implement programs to further reduce emissions of ozone precursors from sources such as cars, fuels, industrial facilities and power plants.

Inhaling ozone can increase the susceptibility of the lungs to infections and increase responsiveness to allergens and other air pollutants.

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