Why Is Ozone Pollution Hazardous To Humans and the Ozone Layer In the Upper Atmosphere Is Beneficial?

The hole in the earth’s ozone layer and ozone pollution are two very different and basically unrelated problems.

Down here, ozone is dangerous to health, but in the upper atmosphere it is protective of health.

Ozone, or O3, is a gaseous molecular form of oxygen with a distinctive odor.

It is a powerful oxidizer and is used commercially as a bleaching agent.

In the upper atmosphere, ozone plays a vital role in absorbing dangerous radiation from the sun, primarily ultraviolet radiation.

If that ozone layer is thinned too much, it allows more of the dangerous rays to reach the ground, where they can cause not just sunburn but skin cancer.

In the upper atmosphere, some of the chemicals that have been used in refrigeration are destroying ozone by reacting with it, and there may be other causes for the variable depletion that has appeared in the polar ozone layer.

Unrelated to that problem, ozone is also produced at ground level by various chemical and electrical processes.

Even computer laser printers have ozone filters to protect people from the ozone they produce, and it is ozone that causes the funny smell after a short circuit makes sparks.

Breathing ozone is dangerous to health because it is a strongly reactive chemical and can damage sensitive tissues, like the lungs.

Ozone is also known as Trioxygen.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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