Q:

Why does ozone depletion occur?

A:

Quick Answer

Ozone depletion is caused by the discharge of hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances that were once commonly used as solvents, refrigerants and insulating foams. The chemicals methyl chloroform, methyl bromide and halons also cause damage to the ozone layer and are used in commercial products such as industrial solvents, pesticides and fire extinguishers. When these ozone depleting chemicals enter the stratosphere, they are exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and release chlorine atoms that begin a destructive cycle of the ozone layer.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

A single chlorine atom is capable of separating over 100,000 ozone molecules. The bromine atoms released by halons and methyl bromide are 60 times more harmful to ozone molecules than chlorine atoms. The resulting damage to the ozone from harmful ozone-depleting substances causes Earth's surface to be exposed to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation.

The increased levels of radiation from the sun can increase the risk of people developing weakened immune systems, cancer and cataracts. Higher levels of ultraviolet radiation can negatively effect the marine food chain, reduce the amount of food that crops produce and can also have other disastrous effects.

The ozone layer contains about 90 percent of Earth's ozone and is a concentration of ozone molecules within Earth's stratosphere. The stratosphere stretches for about 6 to 30 miles above Earth's surface and is responsible for filtering ultraviolet radiation emitted from the sun.

Learn more about Pollution
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How can you protect the ozone layer?

    A:

    Some of the ways to help protect and stop the depletion of the ozone layer include not buying products in aerosol cans, maintaining air-conditioning filters and units, using mass public transit or riding a bike instead of driving, and purchasing energy saving light bulbs and appliances. The ozone layer protects the earth from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are CFCs?

    A:

    CFCs, also known as chlorofluorocarbons, are compounds that are most commonly used as refrigerants, propellants and solvents. Best known as "Freon," CFCs have been discontinued as the main source of coolant in air conditioners and refrigerators because of their ability to deplete the ozone layer in the atmosphere.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What type of things can destroy the ozone layer?

    A:

    The chemical waste that humans create by using products such as aerosols and older air conditioners is the main cause of ozone depletion. The ozone layer is destroyed over time by products that contain chlorofluorocarbons. These are man-made chemical compounds comprised of chlorine, fluorine and carbon.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is ozone layer depletion?

    A:

    Ozone layer depletion refers to the deterioration of ozone in the stratosphere. Scientific evidence has revealed that stratospheric ozone is slowly being destroyed by manufactured chemicals. These chemicals are referred to as ozone depleting substances, or ODS.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore