What’s happening with CFCs?

What’s happening with CFCs?

During the 80’s and 90’s we heard an awful lot about chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. After generations of aerosol use, and fridges and other appliances leaking these elements into the environment, a gaping hole had appeared in the ozone layer.

This caused a lot of problems as the increased intensity of the suns rays depleted the protection from the ozone layer, leading to huge fears of an increase in skin cancer. There is also a range of environmental issues with ozone depletion, including a more rapid depletion of the world’s glaciers.

Chloroflourocarbons were first created in 1928 as non-toxic, non-flamable refrigerants, and were first produced commercially in the 1930’s by DuPont. Production of new stocks of CFCs stopped in most countries as of 1994, however many countries still require aircraft to be fitted with halon fire suppression systems (which impact ozone too) as no safe alternative has been discovered for this. Work on alternatives for chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants began in the late 1970s after the first warnings of damage to ozone were published.

A website, called The Ozone Hole has been created to provide updates on how it is doing. This site reports that as of November 3 this year, the Antarctic ozone hole has passed its deepest and largest and is slowly beginning to fill, but still covers around 14 million square kilometres (the size of the continent). A substantial hole is still there in 2014 unfortunately and will continue to impact on marine life and other life until we fix it. The fact that is has fixed itself to some extent however shows the strength of nature and its will to survive. If we can pull together to stop the destruction of important elements of nature, we can succeed. It may take years, but we can get there. So next time you are about to purchase an aerosol, think again, we’ve come some way with the ozone, let’s finish the job we started.

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