Chloroflurocarbons (CFC's), which have been widely used in air conditioning coolants, cleaning agents, and spray can propellants, have been shown to destroy high altitude ozone, which in turn allows more ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth's surface. Ultraviolet radiation can destroy organic tissue and depress immune systems. More UV radiation at low altitudes in urban areas also results in the formation of more photochemical smog. The ozone depletion problem has been addressed by an international agreement called the Montreal protocol, which was initiated in 1986. Revisions of this agreement call for the elimination of CFC production by 1996.
Organization dedicated to combating the cause and effects of the and ozone depletion phenomena.
Newsletter: Ozone Action News
1621 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20009
- A Checklist for Citizen Action EPA 430-F-94-007. What you can do to help protect the ozone layer. Also includes discussion of ozone depletion and some of the chemicals responsible for it. "To learn more about ozone depletion, call EPA's Stratoshperic Ozone Information Hotline at 800-296-1996, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm eastern , Monday through Friday" /flyer,2
- UV-B Bibliography. William B. Grant, NASA Langley Research Center, MS 401A, Hampton, VA 23665-5225/804-864-5846. This bibliography, containing over 900 entries, includes topics such as the effects of UV-B on plants, animals, humans, and materials. (Courtesy No Sweat News, Fall, 1993)
- Forests, Clearcuts, and UV Radiation Bruce Torrie, NO SWEAT NEWS, Fall 93. Dr. Alan Teramura, a leading researcher on the biological effects of ultraviolet radiation, reported to the U.S. Department of Energy conference in June 1993 that "UV-b produces a noticeable effect on plant growth through DNA damage, photosynthesis depression, yield depression....decreased leaves and branches, stunted height, and decreased biomass accumulation." Field studies have shown reduced growth of Loblolly pine seedlings when exposed to small increases in ultraviolet-b radiation. Research sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service indicated that "Shading is critical for many species, especially on south facing slopes where heat, dryness, and intense sunlight spell death for vulnerable species." In Canada, which has seen significant stratospheric ozone depletion, vast forested areas clear cut long ago are still not sufficiently restocked. These observations suggest that UV-b may be a factor in seedling failure. /news letter,2
- Burning Beneath the Ozone Hole. Robin Round, NO SWEAT NEWS Winter 94. Robin Round, Sierra Club of Canada ozone activist, is a member of the Canadian delegation to the Montreal Protocol. Her article reported a record setting ozone hole that occurred over the Antarctic in the fall of 1993. She reported that the area of this hole exceeded that of North America, and that ozone levels dropped to 25% their normal value. /news letter,2
- Linkages between ozone depletion and UV-b increases confirmed. Keith Heidorn, NO SWEAT NEWS Winter 94. Canadian scientists have conclusively linked thinning of the ozone layer to measured increases in ultraviolet radiation, according to an article published in Science. The Canadian study recorded stratospheric ozone concentrations and radiation intensities in a wide band of ultraviolet frequencies in Toronto Canada. Results showed increases in concentration of radiation throughout the UV-b band, (during periods of reduced ozone concentration/) but no trends for the UV-a portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum. /news letter,2
- Vanishing frogs. Seattle Times, March 1, 1994. Since the 1980's, researchers worldwide have noted a startling decline in amphibian species. A study done by Oregon State University has shown that the successful hatching of frog eggs correlated inversely with increasing exposure to natural UV-b radiation. This appears to account for the vanishing number of frog species reported in various locations. Zoologist Andrew Blaustein, of Oregon State, says "the implications are much broader than just frogs......If it's killing frogs, it is probably also having an effect on plants and invertebrates and fish" /news clip,1
- New coolant to help heal ozone layer, study concludes. Seattle Times, ***, 1994. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, which results in an increase of ultra violet radiation (UV-b), has been attributed primarily to the release of chloroflurocarbons (CFC's). These substances have been used widely in refrigeration and air conditioning applications, particularly in automobiles. This problem has been addressed by an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol. Initiated in 1986, revisions of this agreement call for the elimination of CFC production in industrial nations by 1996. Researchers expect the tattered ozone layer to heal itself in the 21st century. /news clip,1
- Study shows UV-b affects aquatic foodchain From Environment Canada. NO SWEAT NEWS, Summer, 94. Dr. Max Bothwell's findings of reduced freshwater algal biomass growth during exposure to UV-b radiation confirmed findings of other scientists. When algal exposure time increased, beyond 2 weeks, however, the UV-b radiated algae increased in biomass over the control shielded algae. This increase in algae occurred simultaneously with a reduction in the number of insect larvae that consume algae. Dr. Bothwell concluded that the insect larvae were more sensitive to UV-b radiation than the algae. These results suggest that the efficiency of transfer of algae up the fresh water food chain is reduced, which could effect the growth rate of certain freshwater fish stocks./newsletter,2
- Holes in ozone science. Sasha Nemecek, Scientific American, Jan 95, p 26f.
CFC's were firmly established as the principal cause for the ozone hole above the Antarctic. Midlattitude thinning has also occurred: Between 1978 and 1990, ozone levels over North America dropped by 0.5 % per year. Reports of increased UV radiation have been linked to the thinning ozone levels. Details of this thinning process are complex and not well understood. The article also provides a concise description of the physical process of ozone depletion, and discusses the issue of increasing the number of supersonic flights, which has been discouraged in the past because of concern over ozone depletion./article,1
- Northern ozone suffered heavy winter loss. J. Monastersky, Science News, May 6, 1995, p277. Concentrations of ozone were well below normal over the U.S., and much of the northern hemisphere. Ozone depletion set record highs over some Arctic regions, but were not severe enough to qualify as "holes". The greatest depletion occurred over Siberia. Destructive chlorine molecules have been identified in northern latitudes, and the record low Arctic temperatures set in march enabled the ozone destruction to proceed./article,1
- Black Market CFCs. Excerpted from Ozone Action News. Appearing in Earth First Magazine, Aug 1995. The efforts of U.S. businesses to avoid phasing out production of CFCs has created a large illegal market. According to Tom Watts-Fitzgerald, an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami, freon is second only to controlled substances in dollar value of illegal imports into the Miami area. (New York Times, April 30, 1995). /newsletter,2