Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are chemicals that have been widely used in past as refrigerants, propellants and solvents

  • As CFCs contribute to ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere, their manufacture and use is being phased out

The ozone layer is a stratospheric region composed of ozone (tri-atomic oxygen – O

  • CFCs are broken down by ultraviolet radiation to release chloride ions that react with ozone
  • The chloride ion breaks the ozone down into oxygen – one chloride ion can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules

The Role of CFCs in Ozone Depletion


Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs UV radiation, however there is a limit to how much radiation ozone can absorb

  • Regions where the ozone layer is thinner (e.g. due to CFCs) will experience higher terrestrial UV levels
  • UV light penetrates tissues and damages DNA, causing gene mutations that can lead to cancer
  • It can also damage the ability of plants to carry out photosynthesis and kill phytoplankton, reducing productivity

Overview of Ozone Depletion

ozone depletion