Myths and Facts
About the Environment --
Part II: The Hole in the Ozone Layer

Myth: There is conclusive evidence that the ozone layer is being depleted.

Fact: Measurements of stratospheric ozone are most likely thrown off by varying levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere, which create the false appearance of ozone depletion. When the data for the past 30 years is corrected for SO2 interference, all evidence of ozone depletion disappears. Furthermore, it is well established that solar activity, stratospheric weather patterns, and extreme cold can cause variations in the ozone layer.

Myth: Support for the banning of CFCs is based solely on environmental need.

Fact: Chemical companies stand to benefit from the ban on CFCs. Specifically, the duPont corporation, which currently supports the CFC ban, stands to make a killing by patenting and selling expensive replacements to CFCs.

Myth: Depletion of the ozone layer increases the risk of deadly skin cancers.

Fact: Depletion of the ozone layer has no effect on the risk of deadly skin cancers. The ozone layer blocks UV-B radiation, but it does not block UV-A. UV-A radiation has been linked to malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. UV-B has been linked to only two basic types of skin cancer, both of which are unsightly and irritating, but neither of which is deadly.

Myth: Loss of ozone has caused an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface.

Fact: The amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface has been declining. Measurements taken by the National Cancer Institute have shown that during two test periods (1974 - 1979 and 1980 - 1985) the amount of UV-B reaching the Earth's surface has decreased an average of .7% per year.

Information from Environmental Overkill by Dixy Lee Ray (Regnery Gateway, 1993); Dr. S. Fred Singer in Chemical and Engineering News, July 12, 1993.

Issue Date: August 20, 1996

Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #23, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 Tel. (202) 543-4110, Fax (202)543-5975, [email protected], http://www.nationalcenter/inter.net.


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