The 1985 report of the discovery of an "ozone hole" over Antarctica focused attention on the idea that humans can have a significant impact on the global environment. This discovery, along with evidence that ozone is being lost at nearly all latitudes outside the tropics, has prompted much research into the causes of ozone depletion and the biological effects of increased ultraviolet radiation exposure. The potential effects on humans and the environment have led to international resolutions designed to gradually phase out production of ozone-depleting substances. As a result, the scientific and industrial communities have collaborated to find safe and economical replacements for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the manmade chemicals implicated in ozone loss.
This guide contains an Overview that provides general background on key concepts and issues related to ozone depletion. In addition, four subsections explore selected topics in greater detail: