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Blowin' in the Wind, Issue #056 Ozone layer for kids. - July 1, 2008
June 30, 2008
Hello ,

Knowledge of Ozone layer for kids

Let's to bring the reality of the ozone layer for kids into focus...

Q: What is the Ozone Layer
A: a thin layer of gas that helps protect us from the Sun's ultraviolet rays.
Q: What is Ozone?
A: a form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in an molecule, and it's very reactive.
Q: Don't we normally breathe oxygen?
A: The oxygen in the air you breathe is diatomic oxygen. It has two oxygen atoms linked together. Ozone has three.

Q: Does ozone affect me?
A: If you've ever been near an electrical device that's been sparking, you've smelled ozone. It's that "lightning" smell that comes from being around electrical surges.
Q: Are there any problems with ozone?
A: Ozone is very reactive. The three-atom oxygen molecule wants to shed the extra atom to become diatomic oxygen and something else that's been oxidized (taking on the extra atom and becoming more dangerous).

Q: What's oxidization?
A:Oxidization happens when oxygen bonds with another compound.
Q: Like what, for instance?
A: When we burn gasoline, oxygen bonds with carbon and forms carbon dioxide, CO2. When iron rusts, oxygen is bonding with the iron and making rust. Silver tarnishes by the same method.
Q: Is it always bad?
A: No, oxidization is one of the principle chemical reactions that makes life possible on our world.

Ozone Hazards

Q: Is ozone bad?
A: Because ozone is so reactive, we class it as a pollutant when it's around things people want.
Q: Is Ozone good?
A: When it's up in the stratosphere, ozone blocks ultraviolet rays; ultraviolet rays that give you a sunburn at the beach, and you can think of the ozone layer as something that keeps all life on earth from getting severly sunburnt.
Q: So we have no use for it at ground level?
A: We use it as a disinfectant, a safer, less obnoxious substitute for chlorine. You may find it in drinking water or swimming pools for example. A perfect minature blue ozone layer for kids indeed.

Ozone layer facts

Q: What is reactivity?
A: It means the tendency for a chemical to alter its environment.
Q: Does this affect the ozone way up in the ozone layer?
A: Well, anything that makes it to the ozone layer is something that can potentially react with the ozone and break it down.
Q: Does this actually happen?
A: Yes, one of the chief pollutants that can get into the ozone layer is a category of chemical called Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC's.
Q: Where do CFCs come from?
A: Industrial chemicals, aerosol cans and refrigerators.
Q: What do they do?
A: CFCs are heavier than air, but individual molecules last for a long time. They can waft on up to the ozone layer, get hit by UV light, break apart, and the fragments react with ozone, creating ordinary oxygen and a few other compounds. None of these things leftover stops UV.

Q: This sounds like a problem, is it?
A: It was thought for many years that CFC usage was the leader of the causes of ozone depletion, and was causing an ozone "hole" over the Antarctic region.
Q: Is that the whole story?
A: While this is still the prevailing opinion, other scientists have observed that there is roughly a 23 year natural fluctuation in Antarctic ozone levels.
Q: So maybe it's not as bad as we once thought?
A: The actions taken to regulate CFC use mean that even at its thinnest, the ozone layer is still thicker than we were observing before.

Maybe our future generations are safe and we've managed to keep our ozone layer for kids and their kids. I hope so.

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