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.
The production and use of CFCs was banned in many countries across the globe. Before the ban, many products, such as hairsprays, refrigerator coolants, fire extinguishers, foam insulation and foam food packaging, all used CFCs. Many solvents and cleaners that were used on electronic devices also contained CFCs. Breathing inhalers for asthma patients once utilized CFCs to help propel medication into lungs.
CFCs are colorless, odorless, nonflammable and nontoxic when they are first released into the environment. As they continue to rise up through Earth's atmosphere they go through a chemical reaction and begin to release chlorine. Once it reaches the stratosphere, this destructive chemical reaction can continue to damage the earth's ozone for more than a hundred years.
Along with contributing to ozone depletion, CFCs are also responsible for increasing the greenhouse gases that are present in the atmosphere. As more countries continue to adapt to better manufacturing standards, the levels of CFCs in the atmosphere can naturally decrease over time.