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Ozone recovering, but unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, says study

place in the world where indigenous people were spurred to develop protective mechanisms to shield their eyes from UV radiation, and fossil pigments of plants imply UV radiation has been stable for thousands of years. "It is the past few decades that have been unusual," said Weatherhead.

Now ratified by more than 180 nations, the Montreal Protocol established legally binding controls for nations on the production and consumption of halogen gases containing chlorine and bromine. The primary source of ozone destruction is CFCs, once commonly used in refrigeration, air conditioning, foam-blowing equipment and industrial cleaning.

About 90 percent of the ozone measured in the study, known as total-column ozone, is found between 10 miles to 20 miles above Earth's surface in the stratosphere, Weatherhead said. The ozone layer protects the planet from the harmful effects of UV radiation, including skin cancer and cataracts in humans and damaging effects on ecosystems.


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3-May-2006


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