Ozone Depletion and Health
We’ve all heard news about the depletion of the ozone layer, but do you really understand how this affects your health?
The ozone layer is what protects Earth from UV rays, and in the 1980s it was discovered that the protective shield was being depleted, which allows UV radiation to reach Earth. The depletion is caused by chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) that are used in products such as aerosol foams or hairspray, certain pesticides, fire extinguishers and other products. It’s thought that depletion of the ozone layer was at its worst in 2010, and through control of CFCs, the ozone layer will return to its 1980 state around the year 2065.
The depletion of the ozone layer means more UV radiation on Earth. This increases chances for skin cancer and damage to the eyes. It’s more important than ever to make sure your skin and eyes are safeguarded from this UV radiation.
One eye condition in particular that is connected to depletion of the ozone layer is cataracts, which are a clouding of the lens, blurring vision. Cataracts are linked with UVB rays, which are increased due to ozone depletion. Cases of cataracts are on the rise, with 22.3 million Americans being affected by the condition — and this comes at a steep price, with $6.8 billion being spent each year on direct medical costs.
How can you protect yourself and your family from being affected? Make sure your family’s sunglasses all have the recommended 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection; shield style sunglasses do the most to block your eyes from UV rays. A wide-brimmed hat doubles your protection. If you wear contact lenses, ask your optometrist about contacts that block UV rays.
Resources on the Ozone, Climate, and Weather
- Understanding Global Climate Change Science – explains what climate change is and how it affects weather.
- Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions – answers common questions regarding global warming.
- Paleomap Project – describes the history of climate change.
The Greenhouse Effect
- Earth’s Greenhouse Effect Sustains Life – useful basics on the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases.
- Temperature Is a mMeasurement of Motion of Molecules – explains the science behind temperature.
- Converting Between Fahrenheit and Celcius Temperatures Scales – instructions on how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.
- Overheated Equator Drives Weather – teaches how a warm equator affects the weather.
- Understanding Weather Radar – instructions on how to read a weather radar.
- Weather Forecasting: Online Meteorology Guide – educational resource on understanding weather forecasts.
- Understanding Weather Technology – explains instruments that help predict weather.
- Air Masses Bring Variety of Weather – describes types of air masses and the weather they cause.
- Weather – NASA’s comprehensive resource on Earth’s weather.
- Weather – resource on what causes weather.
- Weather Map Symbols – shows weather map symbols and explains their meanings.
- Weather Encyclopedia – weather.com’s resource on everything weather.
- Clouds: Atmospheric Decoration – explains different cloud types with photos and news
- Cloud Types – describes the different types of clouds.
- Earth’s Tilt Creates Seasons – describes why the Earth’s tilt, rather than distance from sun, creates seasons.
- The Distant Sun – describes the sun’s changing distance from Earth.
- The Seasons – explains warming and cooling of the seasons.
- Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day: U.S. Cities and Towns – enter location to receive rise and set times for the sun and moon.
- Rise, Set, and Twilight Definitions – defines terms associated with the sun and moon’s rising and setting.
- Why day is longer than night at the equinox – explains what the equinox is and why that means more sunshine.
- National Geographic – Sun – provides comprehensive facts, photos and news on the sun.
- The Sun – describes the sun’s structure.
The Ozone Layer
- The Ozone Layer – explains what the ozone layer is, describes its depletion, and provides research.
- What is the Ozone Layer – a brief and simple explanation of what the ozone layer is.
- Ozone: Good Up High Bad Nearby – discusses the ozone layer, ramifications of its effects and ways to protect yourself against its depletion.
Weather for the Kids
- Projects and Activities to Teach Weather – describes student projects on atmospheric science.
- The Weather Channel Kids – provides activities, games and information on weather geared towards kids.
- Tree House Weather Kids – activities, games and information about weather for kids.
- Bay Kids’ Weather Page – a weather resource written by kids for kids.
- The Weather Dude – weather basics and education.
- Weather Wiz Kids – weather resource for kids, parents and teachers by a meteorologist.
- Cloud Types – cloud information geared towards kids.
- EEK! A Hole in the Ozone Layer? – information on the ozone layer and it’s depletion for kids.