Ozone depleting substances (ODSs)

A significant proportion of the threats to the Arctic environment come from outside the region, including POPs, ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases (see definitions for POPS and greenhouse gases as well). Ozone depleting substances (ODSs) are those substances which deplete the ozone layer and are widely used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, in dry cleaning, as solvents for cleaning, electronic equipment and as agricultural fumigants.”(1) The ozone layer is vital in shielding us from levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that are dangerous to human health – increased UV radiation exposure is linked to increased risks of skin cancer and cataract development. Similar health effects have been found in non-human animals: a sharp rise in sun damage in whales has been observed, for example. Although the 1987 Montreal Protocol banned the use of ozone-depleting aerosols such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), they will remain in the atmosphere for some time and continue to damage ozone. (…) Ozone depletion is more pronounced at the poles, although more so over Antarctica due to specific climate conditions there. However under the right conditions, significant ozone depletion can happen in the Arctic as well, but to a lesser extent.” (2)