Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let’s Be Clear about Today’s Aerosol Products and the Ozone

A recent study has been causing some more confusion about aerosol products. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-led study published on October 2nd reported higher than normal levels of ozone depletion in the Arctic. Traditionally, most of the ozone depletion to date has been tracked in the colder Antarctic.

The primary driver of the ozone loss was colder than average temperatures. The very low temperatures allow chemical reactions with man-made chlorine-based chemicals to take place in the stratosphere that deplete the ozone. However, many of the articles that reference the study, incorrectly blame the use of aerosol products without clarifying that that today’s aerosol products no longer contain the chlorine-based chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and have not in the U.S. since 1978!

While it is true that the chlorine-based chemicals have a long atmospheric lifetime, most of that used 30-50 years ago is no longer in the atmosphere... Today’s aerosol products in the U.S., European Union, and most countries in the developed world no longer have any CFCs, so consumers can continue to use them without concern of adverse effects on the ozone.