Ozone depletion: Who is responsible? 3. The ozone hole: Why over Antarctica? 4. SOCIETAL ASPECTS 5. Ozone depletion and skin cancer: What¶s
the connection?


Teacher¶s Signature

6. What about other illnesses? 7. Ozone depletion: Not a farmer¶s best friend. 8. Collaborative Global Government Efforts 9. Ozone and health 10. DISCUSSION 11. SUMMARY


OMTEX CLASSES I. The ozone layer: What is it?


The ozone layer is a portion of earths atmosphere that contains high levels of ozone. The atmosphere is divided into five layers: the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the exosphere. The troposphere is the layer closest to earth and is where all weather happenings occur. The stratosphere is located directly above the troposphere, about 10-50 kilometers above the planet, and houses the ozone layer at an altitude of 20-30 kilometers. The mesosphere is located approximately 50-80 kilometers above the earth, while the thermosphere rests at an altitude of approximately 100-200 kilometers above the earths surface. Finally, the boundary of the outermost layer, the exosphere, extends roughly to 960-1000 kilometers above the earth. For a visual of the lowermost three layers of our atmosphere, refer to Figure 1 below. Ozone (O3) is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic species O2. Ground-level ozone is an air pollutant with harmful effects on the respiratory systems of animals. Ozone in the upper atmosphere filters potentially damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth¶s surface. It is present in low concentrations throughout the Earth¶s atmosphere. It has many industrial and consumer applications. Ozone therapy is a controversial alternative medicine practice; mainstream scientific medicine has found ozone to be harmful to humans and equipment intended to be used for ozone therapy is banned in the United States. Ozone, the first allotrope of a chemical element to be described by science, was discovered by Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1840, who named it after the Greek word for smell (ozein), from the peculiar odor in lightning storms.[3] The odor from a lightning strike is from ions produced during the rapid chemical changes, not the ozone itself

Figure 1: Earth¶s atmosphere is divided into layers, which have various characteristics.


Thus.01 mm thickness at standard temperature and pressure. If this happened. 1998). Since the ozone layer over this area would form a 3 mm thick slab.OMTEX CLASSES Source: NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory. which are harmful to life because this radiation can enter cells and destroy the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of many life forms on planet earth. and a single atom combines with a molecule of oxygen to form ozone (O3). the ozone layer essentially allows life. Figure 2 shows a column of air over the measurement of the ozone over Labrador is 300 DU. 3 . UV radiation would not be filtered as it reached the surface of the and all species on earth would be in jeopardy´ (Geocities. the ozone layer can be thought of as a ³UV filter´ or our planet¶s ³built in sunscreen´ (Geocities. Canada. as we know it. It is able to absorb much harmful ultraviolet radiation. A Dobson Unit is a measurement of how thick a specific portion of the ozone layer would be if it were compressed into a single layer at zero degrees Celsius with one unit of atmospheric pressure acting on it (standard temperature and pressure . When ultraviolet light hits these oxygen molecules. In a sense. to exist.STP). a unit of measurement called the Dobson Unit is employed. These single atoms of oxygen are very reactive. Without the ozone layer. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is defined as radiation with wavelengths between 290-320 nanometers. Thus. In order for scientists to evaluate how much ozone is in the layer. 1998). The ozone layer is essential for human life. ³cancer would break out and all of the living civilizations. which is composed of three atoms of oxygen (2O + 2O2 --> 2O3). the reaction causes the molecules to break apart into single atoms of oxygen (UV light + O2 --> O + O). preventing penetration to the earth¶s surface. 1998 2010 The ozone found in our atmosphere is formed by an interaction between oxygen molecules (composed of two oxygen atoms) and ultraviolet light. one Dobson Unit (DU) is defined as .


a single oxygen atom reacts with a chlorine monoxide molecule. There are three main contributors to the ozone problem: human activity.OMTEX CLASSES II. previously emitted CFCs will do damage for years to come. As CFCs are emitted. Then. causing the formation of an oxygen molecule (O2) and a single chlorine atom (O + ClO --> Cl + O2). natural sources. Measures have been taken to reduce the amount of CFC emission. When CFCs from these products are released into the atmosphere. This reaction can be illustrated by the following chemical equation: Cl + O3 --> O2 + such as the release of various compounds containing chlorine or bromine. CFCs were first used to clean electronic circuit boards. 1998 Human activity is by far the most prevalent and destructive source of ozone depletion. while threatening volcanic eruptions are less common. this causes one chlorine atom to liberate. Then. the molecules float toward the ozone rich stratosphere. and as time progressed. the destruction begins. accounts for approximately 75 to 85 percent of ozone damage. 5 . when UV radiation contacts the CFC molecule. Perhaps the most evident and destructive molecule of this description is chloroflourocarbon (CFC). but since CFCs have a life span of 20-100 years. Human activity. were used in aerosols and coolants. Source: Geocities. Figure 3: Humans cause more damage to the ozone layer than any other source. such as refrigerators and air conditioners. This free chlorine then reacts with an ozone (O3) molecule to form chlorine monoxide (ClO) and a single oxygen molecule (O2). and volcanic eruptions (See Figure 3). This threatening chlorine atom then continues the cycle and results in further destruction of the ozone layer (See Figure 4). Ozone depletion: Who is responsible? 2010 It is important to recognize the sources of ozone depletion before one can fully understand the problem.

com. also has detrimental effects and poses danger to the earth. as a component of hydrochloric acid (HCl). volcanic eruptions are a small contributor to ozone damage. During large volcanic eruptions. Finally. like the chlorine released from the reaction between a CFC molecule and UV radiation. In this case. which cause chlorine to destroy ozone. chlorine. 1998 Natural sources also contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. A common natural source of ozone damage is naturally occurring chlorine. Naturally occurring chlorine. sulfur dioxide is more harmful than chlorine because it is converted into sulfuric acid aerosols. These aerosols accelerate damaging chemical reactions. 6 . but not nearly as much as human activity. is released directly into the stratosphere. Natural sources can be blamed for approximately 15 to 20 percent of ozone damage. along with sulfur dioxide. accounting for one to five percent. Source: Geocities.OMTEX CLASSES 2010 Figure 4: A pictorial explanation of how the interaction of CFCs and UV radiation damage the ozone layer.

Every Arctic winter. The ozone hole: Why over Antarctica? 2010 When the topic of the ozone layer arises. the ozone virtually disappeared in October. Europe. Australia. the rapid dissolution decreases. In 1985. one must note that the ³hole´ over Antarctica is truly a ³hole´ only in the Antarctic spring. more than 75% of the ozone is lost and at some altitudes. It is evident that the effects of the polar vortex are dramatic. When the sun returns in the spring. 19). ³For about two month every southern spring. A polar vortex is ³a swirling mass of very cold. including South Figure 5: On average. In the core of the ozone hole. the light shining on the nitrogen oxide filled ice particles activates the formation of chlorine. when the polar vortex breaks up. The average size of the ozone hole is larger than most continents. but few know why the hole is actually there. and the maximum size of the ozone hole in 1996 was larger than North America (See Figure 5). when the depletion is extremely severe due to the vortex. and Antarctica. Since there is an absence of sun during Arctic winters.OMTEX CLASSES III. the total ozone declines by about 60% over most of Antarctica. Finally. Finally. 1998 7 . 1993´ (Nilsson. a polar vortex forms over Antarctica. the air becomes incredibly cold and the formation of ice clouds occurs. A special condition exists in Antarctica that accelerates the depletion of the ozone layer. This excess of ozone destroying chlorine rapidly accelerates the depletion of the ozone layer. British scientists discovered this hole. the size of the ozone hole is larger than many countries. Source: Geocities. stagnant air surrounded by strong westerly winds´ (Roan. many people immediately think of the hole over Antarctica. 126).

Plankton. which in turn are the main source of food for various birds and whales in the Antarctic region (See Figure 6).OMTEX CLASSES 2010 The hole above Antarctica has clearly proven to be detrimental. some penguins were forced to travel up to two hundred miles in search of food. organisms that live on carbon. and are accustomed to low levels of UV. In December of 1994. the krill level was so low that it could not support the penguin population. increased levels of UV radiation decreased the number of photoplankton dramatically. only approximately ten of the 1800 hatched penguin chicks survived. Figure 6: Ultraviolet radiation proved detrimental to this Arctic food chain in December. 1996 At this time. 8 . and nutrients such as nitrogen. 1994. Thus. This tragedy illustrates the fact that even underwater creatures are not protected from harmful UV rays. on the island of Bacharcaise off Antarctica. light. are near the bottom of the food chain. Furthermore. Photoplankton are the main source of food for krill. due to the decreased number of photoplankton. but most returned with none. Source: Nilsson. when summer came. and is a perfect example of the entire food chain being affected due to an increase in the UV radiation as a result of the thinning ozone layer.

as measured on the electromagnetic spectrum. especially UV-B radiation. If the conditions are right. Source: Nilsson. DNA is extremely sensitive to UV radiation. immuno-suppression. UV radiation is located in the optical radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. and perhaps most important connection between society and the ozone layer is the fact that scientific research suggests depletion of the ozone layer directly and indirectly endangers the health of the population. IV. it can cause the cell to ³lock up´ and scramble or delete DNA information. Ozone depletion and skin cancer: What¶s the connection? Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer and causes damage to the DNA in the skin cells. for 9 . while UV-B radiation is a subdivision of the ultraviolet spectrum and consists of a wavelength of 280 to 315 nanometers. cataracts. and the body loses control of the growth and division of the cell. It is important to note that not all affected cells turn into skin cancer. Research has focused on connections between the depleting ozone layer and skin cancer. DNA is especially sensitive to radiation with a wavelength between 280 and 315 nanometers (See Figure 7). the cell may become cancerous. has a wavelength of 280-315 nanometers. Figure 7: UV-B. Thus. This action causes confusion in the DNA. 1996 When UV radiation hits the skin. and snow blindness.OMTEX CLASSES SOCIETAL ASPECTS 2010 The most obvious. the most harmful radiation to humans and plants.

Melanoma skin cancer is a form that sunburns may play a leading role in. This increased UV-B exposure would. while other forms are not. 83). non-melanoma skin cancer is not to be taken lightly either. Furthermore. for science has yet to provide a ³cut and dry´ answer for society to base its judgments on. Thus. In addition. ³light hitting the outer layer of the skin. more skin cancer. However. and the chemical substances cause them to dilate. Yet. The bottom line is that UV ray exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. continual exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer due to cumulative damage of the DNA. 83). ³In animal studies. However. immunosuppressive effects caused by UV-B have indeed been shown to play an important role in the outcome of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers´ (Nilsson.OMTEX CLASSES 2010 many can repair themselves. and in turn. However. in turn. and removal is relatively routine. Due to controversy in the scientific community. controversy lies around the question of whether or not the depletion of the ozone layer will lead to more sunburns. it may very well be that as the ³UV filter´ we call the ozone layer thins. triggers the production of some substances which diffuse into the dermis below. since UV-B radiation damages the immune system. Non-melanoma skin cancers are not usually life threatening. The opponent to this theory would state that the thinning of the ozone layer would lead to more human UV-B exposure. a Dutch scientist. the increased amount of UV-B radiation posed on human skin may contribute to an increased amount of skin cancer.000 more people would be affected by these cancers each year (Nilsson. increase the damage to the DNA making it difficult for the cell to correct the damage before it divides. Some forms of cancer are associated with sunburn. the evidence is compelling and there are estimates that each percentage decrease in the stratospheric ozone will lead to a two percent increase in the incidence of these cancers. Skin cancer can be divided into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. Jan van der Leun. explains that. 105). 81). On the other hand. if the ozone depletes by ten percent over a certain time period. one can only weigh all the evidence and speculate. treatment does include radiation therapy or surgery. The dermis is filled with blood vessels. it is difficult to clearly state whether or not ozone depletion will lead to an increased risk of skin cancers. it is much more likely that a cell will turn cancerous. The concern of many is that sunburn may lead to increased risk of acquiring skin cancer. but is a less serious form of the disease. Some scientists suggest that the skin will gradually adapt to higher UV-B levels as the ozone gradually depletes (Nilsson. but scientists agree on the fact that UV-B radiation plays a large role in the formation of cancer. This type of cancer has the ability to spread quickly throughout the body and invade other cells. making the skin red and warm to the touch´ (Nilsson. the epidermis. 10 . Nilsson (81) states that ³for the non-melanoma skin cancers. 250. This damage accumulates over time and increases the chances that a cell will turn cancerous. The melanoma form of skin cancer is the more dangerous of the two.´ Thus.

the compound previously thought of as sunscreen (Nilsson. 102).´ Nilsson (107) describes urocanic acid (UCA) as antenna-like because it attracts UV rays. This transformation interacts with a number of cells in the skin and sends a signal to the immune system. 101). This theory was first explored in the 1960s when guinea-pigs. another study showed that UV radiation had the same effect on animals as Xray treatment and chemical immuno-suppression. If the UVA has caused damage to the DNA. they found an almost perfect match ± UCA. Figure 8: UV radiation causes the transformation of trans-UCA to the form cis-UCA. ³When de Fabo and Noonan started to match the parts of the spectrum that gave the most immuno-suppression with the absorption spectra of different compounds in the skin. Ozone depletion and immuno-suppression 2010 Ozone depletion is also suggested to cause immuno-suppression. In this experiment. In addition. Logically. all three factors suppressed the immune system. it causes UCA within the skin to change molecular structure from trans-UCA to cis-UCA. They subjected mice to UV rays and measured the effects at precise intervals on the UV range. causing it to hinder its reaction.OMTEX CLASSES V. then the possibility exists for a cancer growth (See Figure 8). de Fabo and Noonan employed filters that were able to separate UV radiation wavelength by wavelength. who were exposed to an allergen. damaging DNA and causing the immune system to suppress. Scientists Edward de Fabo and Frances Noonan conducted a study to investigate exactly which portion of the UV spectrum has the power to suppress the immune system. 11 . showed a lowered immune system response after they had been irradiated with UV (Nilsson. When UV radiation hits the skin.

also contribute to cataract development. in this study. and not solely from increased UV radiation. who stated. this damage has resulted in scattered light and the formation of opaque areas in the eye. and proteins in the eye. It is evident that UV radiation causes various health problems. the next source may provide the opposite theory. 12 . it must be recognized that cataracts can result from poor nutrition. 113). A short-term health problem that will increase as the level of ozone decreases is ³snowblindness´ or ³welder¶s arc flash. membranes. radiation measurements were taken throughout the area to probe for a correlation. 1998).000 to 150. develop into blindness. but when one examines the effects of UV-B radiation on the eyes. and eyelid spasms´ (Ozone. this estimation was contradicted by a team of Dutch scientists. but many suggest the possibility of a relationship. Some epidemiological studies have shown that UV-B radiation and formation of cataracts do have a positive relationship. In summary. the number of people developing blindness would increase by approximately 100. poor hygiene. profuse tearing. It was estimated by the Environmental Effects Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme that for each percent decrease in ozone. 117). Then.OMTEX CLASSES VI. and none have shown a strongly correlated causal relationship between UV-B and cataracts. science is not able to provide society with a confident answer to the question: Will the depletion of the ozone layer cause an increased number of cataract cases? Cataracts are a condition that begin with blurry vision and in some cases. such as diabetes. The results of this study showed a ³weak positive dose-response relationship with UV-B exposure´ (Nilsson. if such effects are present under normal circumstances´ (Nilsson. it is suggested that ozone depletion is likely to increase one¶s risk of developing cataracts. there is again no ³cut and dry´ answer explaining what will happen to the number of cases of cataracts as the ozone layer depletes. one would argue that increased UV radiation would lead to increased rates of cataracts. For example. and in animal studies. severe pain.´ This phenomenon is a result of sunburn of the conjunctiva and cornea and is ³characterized by blurred vision. and diabetes. What about other illnesses? 2010 Like immuno-suppression and skin cancer. The symptoms usually vanish after a few days.000 people (Nilsson. The condition occurs after exposure to UV-B radiation and does not result in permanent damage. It has been proven that UV light can damage the DNA. While one resource may provide the reader with one answer. but what is not so clear is to what degree a depleting ozone layer will magnify the occurrence of these problems. 113). photophobia. Thus. Many other studies have been conducted to examine this phenomenon. ³it is not scientifically justifiable to quantify the effects of UV radiation on the eye. It is obvious to recognize the controversy surrounding theories which state that depletion of the ozone layer causes health problems. The UNEP then published an updated statement and included information that poor diet and diseases. Thus. Research has been conducted to investigate a link between cataracts and UV radiation. a study conducted with Chesapeake Bay fishermen asked these fishermen to disclose whether or not they wore sunglasses while working and during outdoor recreational activities.

To further investigate the affect of UV radiation on plants. an increased UV-B level lead to a decrease in crop yield. 52). research suggests that if ozone depletion became serious enough. One would logically conclude that the depletion of the ozone layer would lead to a reduction in the yield of crops. The results concluded that in approximately 50% of the crops. However. it would seem logical that increased UV radiation from the depleting ozone layer would lead to plant damage. Some plants actually employ a mechanism that allows them to protect themselves from UV damage. Thus. the plants without the protective mechanisms would die out. a delicate balance must be achieved in order for the plant to survive. Ironically. while plants use light as their main fuel for growth. 54). The answer to the question of decreased crop yield and existence of plants as a result of a thinning ozone layer is not scientifically definitive. UV radiation also causes problems in the photosynthetic machinery by hampering the photosynthesis process. If a plant is exposed to too much UV radiation. but the plants with these mechanisms would be able to replace the extinct plants. Ozone depletion: Not a farmer¶s best friend. However. yet. Specifically. As it has been well stressed. squash. Thus. and the cell¶s skeleton by affecting cell growth and morphology. and various forms of peas were also found to be sensitive to UV-B radiation. highly debated concern with regards to the depleting ozone layer is crop and plant damage. However. much depends on which plants survive. the consequences for society are detrimental. the DNA of the plant may become damaged due to penetration of harmful UV radiation into sensitive areas of the plant. and beans.OMTEX CLASSES VII. experiments have been done to study the effects of UV-B levels on crop yield (Nilsson. science may offer a solution by being able to breed crops that are resistant to UV radiation. the corn yield was reduced by 28 percent. it is not that simple. and not affect the level of productivity in the ecosystem (Nilsson. 2010 Another common. it is important because if the ability of plants to intake carbon dioxide and regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is altered. With this information taken into account. 13 . depletion of the ozone layer results in higher UV-B radiation on the earth¶s surface. the cell membrane by altering the transportation of essential potassium.

1994 and an additional 30 percent by January 1. shortly after the implementation of the protocol.OMTEX CLASSES VIII. This amendment recruited more countries. 14 . nations also agreed to reduce CFCs 20 percent by January 1. and solve the problem. regulate. it was amended. 1987. In addition. many nations recognized the need for rapid and dramatic action in fighting the war with CFC responsible ozone depletion. bringing the total number involved to almost 100. Collaborative Global Government Efforts 2010 As a result of the many concerns that a thinning ozone layer poses to society and the environment. Thus. 208-9).S. This was known as the Montreal Protocol. Perhaps the most well known acts to help control the depletion of the ozone layer were the Montreal Protocol. the results were not significant enough. the U. On September 14. 1999 (Roan. Even though this protocol helped the state of the ozone layer. the delegates agreed to halt production and consumption of CFCs at 1986 levels by the year 1990. The name of this amendment was the London Ozone Agreement. and to help set up a fund so that developing countries may find alternates to using CFCs. The new goals were to eliminate the use of all CFCs by the year 2000. Thus. government and many international agencies have been relatively active in attempting to monitor. After much discussion. delegates from 43 countries met to discuss threats of the thinning ozone layer. in 1990. and the London Ozone amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

created by high concentrations of pollution and daylight UV rays at the earth¶s surface. like ozone. and that this smell has ³bracing´ health benefits. is toxic in high concentrations. Tans and sunburns. the UV rays cause direct damage to the cells. The characteristic ³smell of the sea´ is not caused by ozone.[24] Air quality guidelines such as those from the World Health Organization are based on detailed studies of what levels can cause measurable health effects. can harm lung function and irritate the respiratory system. 105 ppbv to 124 ppbv as ³unhealthy´ and 125 ppb to 404 ppb as ³very unhealthy´. and dimethyl sulfide.[25] Neither of these is true. clustered around the most heavily populated areas (especially in California and the Northeast). for example. as failing to comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. A common British folk myth dating back to the Victorian era holds that the smell of the sea is caused by ozone. 8-hour average ozone concentrations of 85 to 104 ppbv are described as ³Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups´. In some cases. but by the presence of dimethyl sulfide generated by phytoplankton. UV rays can trigger the development of skin cancer by creating changes in the cells of the skin. Health Effects of UV Radiation Overexposure to UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. are both 15 .[26] The United States Environmental Protection Agency has developed an Air Quality index to help explain air pollution levels to the general public.[27] The EPA has designated over 300 counties of the United States.[16][23] A connection has also been shown to exist between increased ozone caused by thunderstorms and hospital admissions of asthma sufferers.OMTEX CLASSES Ozone and health Ozone in air pollution 2010 There is a great deal of evidence to show that high concentrations (ppm) of ozone.

in the summer when the sun¶s rays are strongest. Look for a ³broad spectrum´ sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. and damage to the eye from UV rays can lead to cataracts. The features most closely associated with intolerance to sun exposure include fair or freckled skin. Do not think you are safe just because the sky is cloudy. neck. Avoid see-through clothing when possible. and malignant melanoma. squamous cell carcinoma. While governments around the world deal with the source of the problem. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas progress slowly and rarely cause death because they usually do not spread to other parts of the body. skin cancer is the result of overexposure to UV rays from the sun. and a broad-brimmed hat or visor. or hands. The sun¶s harmful rays can get through fog. premature aging of the skin. The last one can be fatal if not treated early. especially between 11:00 a. cataracts. Minimizing Your Risk There is no quick fix for the ozone layer. haze. and light cloud cover. 16 . Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation has also been linked to a number of other health effects. Once they get into the environment.m. Wear long-sleeved shirts. so they are likely to be with us for a long time. These guidelines will help you protect your family from the sun¶s harmful rays: y y y y y y Seek shade if you are taking part in outdoor activities when the UV index is three or higher. Many studies of skin cancer show links between malignant melanomas and an individual¶s intolerance to sun exposure. blue eyes. it is important to take steps to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. Cover up. gloves. by weakening the immune mechanisms in skin and the rest of the body. Wear sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet radiation. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma. The studies indicate that people who have suffered severe and frequent sunburns during childhood are at greater risk of developing melanoma. and 4:00 p. such as the face. including sunburns. as directed on the label.m. UV rays can cause skin cancer indirectly. ozone-depleting chemicals disintegrate very slowly.OMTEX CLASSES 2010 signs that UV rays have damaged the skin. Most often. and weakening of the immune system. Use sunscreen lotion and reapply it often. In other cases. and light-coloured or reddish hair. The two other types of skin cancer tend to develop later in life on areas of skin that have been exposed repeatedly to the sun. Avoid sunbathing for the purpose of tanning. long pants. Your eyes have no built-in defence against the sun.

Sunburn may increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. and shorts. young children should wear a sunhat. pay special attention to the parts that are most exposed. so they need extra protection if they are going to be out in the sun for a long time.OMTEX CLASSES Children Need Extra Protection 2010 Children and teenagers have more sensitive skin than adults. It is important to protect against ultraviolet radiation all year round. When you put sunscreen on children. Avoid using sunscreen on babies. You can continue to enjoy outdoor activities. neck. including their ears. so it is best to get children used to wearing protective clothing and sunscreen lotion from the start. and the tops of their feet. knees. not just in the summer. 17 . Cover them and keep them in the shade instead. as long as you take steps to protect yourself when the UV index is three or higher to avoid sunburns and overexposure. face. At the very least. T-shirt. shoulders and back.

For if we are not able to breed UV-B resistant plants.´ Furthermore. the possibility seems high that the depletion of the ozone layer will prove detrimental if action is not taken. resulting in higher levels of famine and malnutrition. it is obvious that the depletion of the ozone layer is a serious problem that poses many consequences to society. Although scientific controversy exists. These health risks include skin cancer. Thus. This may seem like an isolated. and ³snowblindness. Even though the photoplankton were located at the bottom of the food chain. if action is not taken. the possibility that increased UV-B radiation results in lower crop yields should provide a ³wake up´ call to those who feel the thinning ozone layer is not a problem. research shows the strong possibility of a number of health risks associated with increased UV-B exposure as a direct result of the thinning ozone layer. 18 . Recall the decrease in food supply as a result of reduced levels of photoplankton in Antarctica. however. and remote problem. the whole chain was affected.OMTEX CLASSES DISCUSSION 2010 Regardless of the details of the arguments. cataracts. immunosuppression. problems like this could potentially affect the global food web and result in an overall decrease in food supply. realize that the dangers posed by ozone depletion are real now. and will be in the future. non-significant. Studies from Antarctica tell society that increased UV radiation can directly affect the food chain. the world¶s food supply would become dramatically decreased. For example. this incident illustrates the dangers of reduced food supply and alteration of the food chain as a result of the thinning ozone layer. In the future.

future generations depend on the actions taken now. are denoted as ³ozone friendly. In order for earth to repair the damage humans have posed on the ozone layer. This equipment allows for the disposal of refrigerants without damage to the ozone layer. check to make sure refrigerant-recovery equipment is used by the agency. For example. If individuals contribute time or money to environmental agencies focused on healing the ozone layer. Thus. when an agency. comes to pick up the unwanted appliance. the agencies will be able to organize activities promoting the understanding of the ozone problem. certain actions must be taken in order to prevent the CFCs from escaping from the disposed product. Unfortunately.´ A collaborative effort by society not using products with CFCs is a major step toward the healing of the ozone layer. one can simply check product labels for ozone friendly status. There are many tasks individuals can involve themselves in to help combat the problem of ozone depletion. When individuals must dispose of products with refrigerants in them. more individual efforts will be taken to make ³ozone smart´ decisions such as using ³ozone friendly´ products. the depletion of the ozone layer is still a problem that society should be concerned with. and thus. Society can also help the problem of ozone depletion through education. society must take an active role. as well as through various donations. Many companies have gone to great lengths to remove CFCs from their products. 19 . CFCs marketed under the trade name ³Freon´ are used in appliances with refrigerants such as refrigerators and air conditioners. many products still used in society are detrimental to the ozone layer. Although thinning ozone may not directly affect the generation growing up today. If society is educated through these means. such as a waste hauling company.OMTEX CLASSES Take Action: Teamwork does the trick 2010 Although the earth will be able to ³heal´ itself if the CFC level continues to stay as it is. First of all. For example. These products do not do as much damage to the ozone layer. it is important for society to recognize that the thinning ozone layer is a problem and to take action in order to ensure the safety and survival of future generations.

experiments have shown a correlation between increased UV radiation and crop damage due to UV radiation damaging the plants¶ DNA. future generations will be handed a safe and healthy planet. cataracts. and therefore. in a region over Antarctica. Some scientists. society should recognize that much can be done to prevent ozone layer damage. thus. ozone depletion is a dangerous problem due to possible disease outbreaks and famine as a result of increased UV-B radiation. For if society acts now. and ³snow blindness´ due to radiation damage of the DNA. feel that this will not be a problem in the future due to the possibility of breeding UV resistant crops and plants. this hole was large enough to cover Antarctica.OMTEX CLASSES SUMMARY 2010 The ozone layer is essential for protecting society from harmful UV radiation by acting as a filter. 20 . Additionally. immuno-suppression. united in 1987 to sign the Montreal Protocol. natural sources. Clearly. and volcanoes. society can collectively attempt to combat this problem by relatively simple means such as education and the practice of ³ozone smart´ behavior. Scientific research has suggested the probability that increased UV-B radiation as a result of the thinning ozone layer leads to increased cases of skin cancer. However. In 1996. Human activity is responsible for the most damage to the ozone layer. In 1985. The depletion of the ozone layer does not come without problems. this protective layer has been thinning due to three main sources: human activity. However. This agreement was implemented to decrease CFC levels in order to help protect the thinning ozone layer. however. that it could be classified as a hole. the yearly polar vortex had caused the ozone layer to deplete so greatly. Many national governments and agencies recognized the problem of ozone depletion.

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