A single Styrofoam cup contains one billion billion molecules of CFC’s—that 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. Not sure what CFCs are, but know they are bad? You’re not alone. CFC is short for chlorofluorocarbon (thank goodness for abbreviations!). Basically, they are nontoxic materials that become detrimental when released into the atmosphere, where they break down the ozone layer. The particular part of the ozone layer that these CFCs deplete is what generally protects the Earth from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It doesn’t take much of a depletion to increase the risk of skin cancer in humans and other genetic damage for many organisms.
Scary, right? Well, there’s more. One CFC molecule takes over 100 years before it becomes harmless. 100 years! And as long as Americans average tossing 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, it won’t get any better.
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