You’ve been told that you shouldn’t get air conditioning because it will perpetuate growing holes in the Ozone. We’re here to tell you that may have been the case once but no longer. We want to give you the skinny on chlorofluorocarbons and why they were once problematic across the United States but no longer are.
Chlorofluorocarbons, fondly known as CFCs, are defined by the NOAA as, “Nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine.” These chemicals have been used previously in aerosol sprays and as refrigerants. They have an exceptionally high heat capacity which makes them effective in the refrigeration process. CFCs were chosen in the 1920s and 30s to replace other chemical refrigerants toxic to humans like ammonia and methyl chloride. Around the same time that Frigidaire came up with the first CFC refrigerant, air conditioning because to boom across the United States. It was the next big thing following World War II. Little did scientists and individuals know at the time that CFCs were detrimental to the ozone layer.
The ozone layer is a thin layer of trioxygen molecules found just above the stratosphere. This thin layer helps protect the Earth from ultraviolet rays by absorbing a range of the most dangerous. Without the ozone layer, life would probably not exist and definitely not as we know it today. When people used air conditioning units and refrigerators, CFCs were released into the atmosphere. In 1974, two California scientists suggested that CFCs released excess chlorine into the environment that was rising into the stratosphere and bonding with the trioxygen molecules. This bonding essentially started the destruction of various spots in the ozone layer, leaving humans and other life exposed to harmful UV rays.
Since 1974 many steps have been taken to eliminate the use of CFCs and HCFCs around the world. Production of CFCs completely ceased in 1995 and all new products do not use CFCs. Very old air conditioning units may still contain CFCs and can be replaced with newer, earth-friendly models by your local air conditioning specialist.