One of the misconceptions we frequently hear is that the ozone layer is somehow dangerous. Maybe it’s because people associate it with UV radiation, but the fact is that the ozone layer protects humans from harmful radiation. This layer also destroys pollutants in the atmosphere, which is why it sometimes becomes depleted (remember the concern about the growing hole in the ozone layer back in the 1970s?); the more pollutants in the atmosphere, the more ozone it takes to destroy them, and there were a lot of pollutants flying around at that time. The good news is that the hole in the ozone layer has stopped growing, thanks to a worldwide ban on aerosol propellants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), implemented about 30 years ago.
The truth is that ozone has the capacity to destroy a very long list of harmful pollutants and germs, without introducing new environmental dangers of its own.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has an excellent article that dispels many fears and misunderstandings about the ozone layer. It begins …
“The Earth’s ozone layer protects all life from the sun’s harmful radiation, but human activities have damaged this shield. Less protection from ultraviolet light will, over time, lead to higher skin cancer and cataract rates and crop damage. The U.S., in cooperation with 190 other countries, is phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances in an effort to safeguard the ozone layer.”
Wynn Ponder is a freelance writer who covers health, science, industrial and marketing topics.