The newsLINK Group - Section 608 of the Clean Air Act (CAA)

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Clean Air Act (CAA) Title: Section 608 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: We could not live without the heat and warmth of the sun, but it also emits deadly ultraviolent radiation. Some of the sun’s energy is high, and some is low. The radiation spectrum is as follows: Editorial: Section 608 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 We could not live without the heat and warmth of the sun, but it also emits deadly ultraviolet radiation. Some of the sun’s energy is high, and some is low. The radiation spectrum is as follows: Infrared: This is the sun’s warmth. Visible: This is sunlight. Ultraviolet (UVC, UVB, and UBA). UVC is absorbed in the stratosphere; UVA and UVB both reach the earth’s surface and can cause cancers such as melanoma. UVB is particularly dangerous because in addition to causing skin cancer, it can also cause cataracts, damage some crops and materials such as plastics, and can hurt some forms of sea life. X-ray is the highest-energy radiation, but it is absorbed in the stratosphere before it reaches the earth. The earth is wrapped in five protective layers of gas that we call the atmosphere: The top of earth’s atmosphere is called the exosphere. It is extremely thin and merges into space. The thermosphere is the layer that contains auroras. This is also where the space shuttles used to orbit (the last U.S. shuttle landed on July 21, 2011). The mesosphere is where rock fragments and meteors are burned up as they fall. The stratosphere is a stable layer that is also called the ozone layer because 90 percent of atmospheric ozone can be found here. This is where jets fly and ultraviolet radiation is absorbed. The troposphere is the layer that is closest to the earth. It contains half of the atmosphere and is the layer where weather plays itself out over the face of the earth. The troposphere has ten percent of atmospheric ozone in it. You’ve probably heard the term “ozone” throughout your life, but what is it, exactly? Ozone molecules have three oxygen atoms on them. It has a strong smell and looks blue, whereas the air you breathe has only two oxygen atoms and does not have a smell or a color. Ozone is not stable, and it is less common than regular air molecules, but the total number of ozone molecules has historically been stable. In other words, ozone molecules are always forming and breaking. That doesn’t mean the total amount of ozone is always the same, however. Ozone concentrations are affected by natural cycles caused by sunspots and seasons; they also vary according to latitude, which is the distance north or south of the equator. The fact that the earth’s ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation makes this layer an important protective shield. That’s why scientists were dismayed when they realized, starting in the early 1970s, that Freon was destroying the ozone in the ozone layer. Freon is a brand name that belonged to DuPont. The term covers chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and other related compounds developed by industrial chemists during the 1930s. HCFCs are volatile organic compounds that have a similar structure to CFCs, but they have more hydrogen atoms than CFCs do. The news got worse in 1994 when researchers discovered that Halon could harm the ozone layer, too. This was particularly unfortunate because Halon is a remarkable fire suppressant that can be used in places where water would cause damage to paper or electronics, but the EPA banned Halon manufacturing in 1994. Existing systems that used it were grandfathered. CFCs and the other compounds (that is, Freon) had been useful products because they are cheap, have low toxicity, are stable, and don’t burn. People have used CFCs as foam blowing agents, refrigerants, solvents, and in other small applications. Freon and Halon can survive in the atmosphere for anything between 60 and 110 years, though, so they will continue to be around for a while just because so much had already gotten into the atmosphere before scientists discovered that they are harmful.