An obnoxious oxide

Obnoxious trio: nitrous oxide, the ozone hole and skin cancer.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

Thought the ozone hole was so 20th Century? Well, it hasn't gone away even though we humans have stopped pumping so much CFCs into our atmosphere. Seems now we're working with nature to increase the amount of nitrous oxide that gets into the atmosphere. Even if we grow more biomass to produce more biofuel to curtail CO2 production, we may be increasing the N20 going into the air.

Nitrous oxide is now seen as the #1 cause of the ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere. That, of course, lets in more solar radiation. That in turn enhances warming of the earth and is not good news for any creature with skin exposed to the radiation. One recent study--done only in a northern lattitude--calls into question any evidence of a melanoma epidemic. Of course, more tropical lattitudes and southern hemisphere locations are going to feel the effects of ozone depletion first. How about a study in southern Australia? Australia's already considered the skin cancer capital of the world. Dubious distinction, what?

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