Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a class of compounds that contain chlorine, carbon, and fluorine. They are often used in aerosol sprays, refrigerators, the manufacturing of foam, and air conditioning. The primary environmental concerns of CFCs are identified below.
- CFCs affect the ozone layer of the environment. When CFCs are exposed to ultraviolet radiation in the upper ozone layer, they release chlorine atoms. Ozone is made of three oxygen atoms. When chlorine breaks away from a CFC in the ozone layer, the chlorine takes an oxygen from an ozone molecule, turning it into an oxygen molecule. In this way, CFCs reduce the protection that the ozone layer gives the Earth from the harmful UV rays that are produced from the Sun.
- CFCs are thought to be greenhouse gases that contribute to Earth’s global warming.