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Atmospheric Issues

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Atmospheric Issues

The Ozone layer is extremely important to sustain life on this planet. This layer which is located between 6 and 28 miles about the earths’ crust is slowly decreasing. Although scientists feel the thinning of the ozone layer is a natural occurrence, they also know humans are making it worse. Humans use products that emit pollutions that are increasing the thinning of the ozone layer which is increasing yearly. The primary pollutant and contributor to ozone depletion is a group of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Freon is a common CFC used in aerosol cans as propellants as well as coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators. CFCs are also used to propel insulation and packing materials such as Styrofoam. In addition to CFCs there are other compounds that contribute to ozone depletion. These compounds include: “halons, industrial solvents; and nitrous oxide, used as fire retardants; methyl bromide, a pesticide; methyl chloroform and carbon tetrachloride, released from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and from the breakdown of nitrogen fertilizers in the soil.” (Berg & Hager 2007). As a result of these air pollutants destroying the ozone, increased levels of ultraviolet rays cause both health and environmental problems. Some health problems associated with this issue includes skin cancer. Skin cancers like Squamous cell carcinoma, (SCC) Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and Malignant Melanoma (MM) are all proven to have been cause by ultraviolet rays from the sun. Malignant Melanoma is becoming more common than any other cancer yearly in the United States. An estimated amount of 76,250 people were diagnosed with Melanoma in 2012. Cataracts of the eyes and a weakened immune system are also proven to be caused by ultraviolet rays. Humans are not the only living creature affected by the increase of ultraviolet rays.
An environmental issue caused by ozone depletion and increased UV rays is a decrease in the amphibian population. As a result of the amphibian population decreasing, other species that live off of them will suffer as well, slowly killing everything on earth To help reduce the effects of depleting ozone, manufactures are developing new ways and other chemicals to replace the harmful compounds that harm the ozone. These chemicals are most likely never going to be removed from the market, so we can only take steps to help the cause. One way we can help is to not use aerosol cans when other means are available. We can also limit our use of pesticides and fossil fuels that contribute to ozone breakdown. When researching and comparing the differences and similarities of our depleting ozone layers and indoor air pollution, found some very interesting information. Studies have shown that indoor pollution is often more polluted than outside. (“Indoor Health Advisor“, 2012) VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compound) are in multiple everyday items. Things we use every day from a gas stove to the air freshener we spray in our homes. Radon is a natural gas that is found in almost everything on earth including the soil and ocean. Many believe that by disrupting the earth to build our homes are basically bottling up all this natural pollution in our homes. Higher levels of radon gases are found in closed building than in open spaces outdoors. (“Indoor Health Advisor“, 2012)
References
Indoor Health Advisor. (2012). Retrieved January 3rd, 2013 from Indoor-Air-Pollution.com
Berg, L. R., & Hager, M. C. (2007). Visualizing environmental science. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley& Sons. http://www.skincancer.org/news/melanoma/jump-in-melanoma-2012. Retrieved January 3rd, 2013

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