Why are people trying to use less CFC’s?

February 10, 2008
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Whether or not you know what CFC’s are or not but Chlorofluorocarbon is a chemical compound that is found in many aerosol products or manufacturing processes and believed to be responsible for depleting the Earth’s diminishing ozone layer. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), along with other chlorine- and bromine-containing compounds, have been implicated in the accelerated depletion of ozone in the Earth's stratosphere. That is why the use of CFC’s is being restricted so that it can slow down the depletion of the Earth’s atmospheric ozone layer. The use of CFC’s was banned in the U.S on April 15 because of two men whose names are Frank S. Rowland and Mario Molina. These two men made a prediction that chlorine atoms are released when the Chlorofluorocarbon are broken down by the light from the sun in the upper layer of the atmosphere also known as the stratosphere. Their use has been regularly prohibited by the Montreal Protocol, because of effects on the ozone layer.

People began to take a concern in the ozone layer back in the 1970’s when they found out that CFC’s were rising into the atmosphere in a large amount. All of this was happening because of what CFCs were used for before they took them out of things. They were used for refrigerator and air conditioners as coolants. They also were found as solvents to clean electronic components, and also propellants in air conditioners. The usage of these things grew a lot over the years. Some of the elements that make up a CFC are chlorine. Right now very little chlorine exists in the atmosphere but scientists found out that CFC’s are introducing chlorine into the ozone layer and is destroying a large amount of the ozone.
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The problem with CFC’s is that they are being released into the stratosphere then the light from the sun breaks down the cfc’s releasing atomic chlorine, then the Atomic chlorine destroys the ozone then lastly the increased ultraviolet rays reach the Earth’s surface, raising the risk of skin cancer and other dangerous consequences. CFCs have a lifetime of about 20–100 years and can therefore continue to destroy ozone for a long period.

Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are non-toxic and non-flammable. They contain fluorine atoms, carbon atoms and chlorine atoms. An American engineer named, Thomas Midgley developed chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in 1928 as a replacement for ammonia (NH3). Rowland discovered that man-made chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants accelerate the decomposition of the ozonosphere, which protects the Earth from ultraviolet radiation. In the past, CFCs have been widely used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioners, as solvents in cleaners, particularly for electronic circuit boards, as a blowing agents in the production of foam (e.g. fire extinguishers), and as propellants in aerosols. The Protocol called for the parties to phase down the use of CFCs, as well as other ozone depleting chemicals such as halons and other man-made halocarbons. Even though emissions of CFCs have fallen dramatically as a result of the Montreal Protocol, because each chlorine molecule remains in the atmosphere for such a long time, damage done to stratospheric ozone will persist for many more years.





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