Consequences Of Ozone Depletion

Ironically, destruction of the ozone layer at the upper levels could increase the amount of ozone at the Earth's surface. In addition, the decline in stratospheric ozone is thought to increase hydrogen peroxide in the stratosphere, contributing to acid rain. The ozone layer acts as a protective shield against UV radiation. As ozone diminishes in the upper atmosphere, the Earth could receive more UV radiation. Increased radiation, especially of the frequency known as ultraviolet-B (UVB), the most damaging wavelength, promotes skin cancers and cataracts, suppresses the human immune system, and produces wrinkled, leather-like skin. It also reduces crop yields and fish populations, damages some materials such as plastics, and intensifies smog creation.

At its Web site in 2005 the EPA reported that studies conducted at the Antarctic found that the amount of UVB radiation reaching the ground doubled during the existence of the Antartic's annual ozone hole.

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