The Poisoning of Our Ozone Layer

The Poisoning of Our Ozone Layer
The poisoning of the Earth?s ozone layer is increasingly attracting worldwide concern for the global environment and the health effects of life on the Planet Earth. There is not just one particular cause for the ozone?s depletion; the accumulation of different pollutants into our ozone layer has all added up and equaled a worldwide problem. There is not just one effect from the poisoning of the ozone, but instead multiple ramifications from diseases to death. The damage to the ozone is increasing with every second; moreover, there are many ways we can help reduce the problem and preserve the ozone layer. Ozone is a pale blue gaseous form of oxygen, in chemical form it is also known as O3. Ozone can be beneficial or harmful depending on its location in the Earth?s atmosphere.
If the ozone is located in the troposphere (which extends from the surface of the Earth up to approxiametly10 miles) it is a harmful pollutant and a major component in smog and other environmental health problems. Such tropospheric ozone can damage plastic, rubber, plant and animal tissue. Ozone located approximately 10-25 miles above the Earth?s surface, in a part of the Earth?s atmosphere called the stratosphere is very beneficial. The ozone is a major factor that makes life possible on Earth. About 90% of the planet?s ozone is in the ozone layer. Ozone in this layer shields and filters out the Earth from 95-99 percent the sun?s ultraviolet radiation.

A low level of ozone does not protect or prevent the sun?s ultraviolet rays from reaching the surface of the Earth, therefore, overexposing life on Earth causing many diseases. The depletion of the ozone is caused by many factors, but the one cause that will be elaborated on in the next paragraph is the main reason our ozone is continuously being poisoned. The major cause in the depletion of the Earth?s ozone layer is because of the release of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere. Chlorofluorocarbons also known as CFCs, are industrially produced chemical compounds that contain the elements chlorine, fluorine, carbon, and sometimes hydrogen that will break down the protective ozone in the atmosphere.

Since CFCs are heavier than air, the process of CFCs reaching the ozone will generally take from two to five years to get into the stratosphere. When CFCs reach the stratosphere, the sun?s ultraviolet radiation cause them to break apart. Therefore, the chlorine atoms inside the CFCs are released and will react with ozone, starting a chemical destruction cycle of ozone. To show the extent of destruction chlorine can produce, one chlorine atom can break apart more than 100,000 molecules of ozone. Chlorofluorocarbons are not naturally produced chemical, but shockingly are all man-made products. CFCs products and other ozone depleting substance are everywhere and come in all forms such as: aerosol spray cans, industrial cleaning agents, insulators, Styrofoam?s, coolants, auto air conditioners, home air conditioners and refrigerators (see next the pie chart on next page for more information). Majority of CFCs contributing to depletion is the auto air conditioners in our cars. The CFCs inside auto and home air conditioning systems, as well as in refrigerators can leak out, and eventually will rise into the atmosphere destroying the ozone layer

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