There has been a recent increase in awareness when it comes to issues such as environmental protection, preservation of natural resources and prevention of pollution. The latter issue, pollution, is one that concerns many businesses. Every business is capable of creating waste or producing harmful emissions, but it is essential to reduce the frequency of these actions and control the impact when it happens. One of the consequences of continual toxic emissions is depletion of the ozone layer. Chlorofluorocarbons, in particular, have been identified as a major cause of this problem. These compounds are being phased out now. You can prevent further damage by complying with the process.
Businesses and Processes That Commonly Produce Chlorofluorocarbons
Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are a manmade compound and a byproduct of many processes. They are used prevalently in the production of refrigerants, foamed plastics, aerosol products and solvents. Though these and other purposes make them a useful and versatile compound, they can devastate the ozone layer of the stratosphere if they are emitted. This happens when CFC molecules are exposed to UV radiation and break down into molecules that include chlorine, which is highly damaging to the ozone layer.
CFC Development, Use and Phase-Out Timeline
Chlorofluorocarbons were first developed and began being used widely in the late 1920s and early 1930s. During this time, they became increasingly popular because they are inflammable and nontoxic. It wasn’t for another 40 years, in 1974, that they were identified as the cause of ozone depletion. Scientists recorded a hole in the stratosphere and research pointed to CFCs. The Montreal Protocol was proposed by the United Nations, which would implement gradual regulations on companies’ production and use of compounds that deplete the ozone layer, including CFCs. It was ratified universally and went into effect in 1989.
Montreal Protocol Regulations
The Montreal Protocol offered a swift and effective response to the discovery of CFCs’ detriments. Some corporations fought its implementation, but it passed successfully and has led to the replacement of CFC for most businesses. It imposed gradual regulations for the use of CFC, which included that countries would begin phasing out CFCs starting in 1993 and completing phasing out the use by 2010.
These steps led to the development of compounds, such as HFCs, SF6 and PFCs, which replaced CFCs. It has been noted that the time it took for these measures to be enacted, from the time the harm of CFCs was discovered, was an impressively short span considering the extent of the solution. The Montreal Protocol helped to end the depletion that would have led to severe issues and the damage to the ozone layer is now healing.
How Your Business Can Prevent Ozone Depletion
Though CFCs are no longer allowed, there are other factors that can contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Other compounds, though not as deadly as CFCs, can still damage the ozone. Some such chemicals include:
• Halons: This gaseous compound is used sometimes to extinguish fires.
• Methyl chloroform: This is a somewhat commonly used compound in various industry environments. It may be used in aerosol cans as a degreaser or as an adhesive.
• Hydrofluorocarbons: Though this compound became a common replacement for CFCs, it also depletes the ozone. It is used in many of the same applications as CFCs.
• Carbon tetrachloride: You may find this chemical in some solvents, or it may be used in fire extinguishers.
If your business involves manufacturing, cleaning, waste or any other kind of processing, there’s a chance you may be producing and emitting these compounds. In order to prevent ozone depletion, you should eliminate harmful compounds from your operations and use environmentally friendly methods.
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