Greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as ozone gas and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) trap heat in the atmosphere, creating holes in the ozone layer. CFCs are released in the process of manufacturing and using various products such as refrigerators, air conditioners and aerosol sprays.
Chemicals such as chlorine and bromine occur naturally. These chemicals along with those contained in man-made substances rise up into the stratosphere to destroy the ozone molecules in this process:
- UV light breaks down CFCs, releasing chlorine.
- The chlorine atom bonds with the oxygen atom in an ozone molecule, creating oxygen gas and chlorine monoxide (CIO) [source: Chemical Heritage].
- The chlorine atom can detach from an oxygen atom and is capable of destroying nearly 10,000 ozone molecules [source: UCS].
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