Scientists, in the 1970s, showed that ozone depletion is due to the release of some substances into the atmosphere. As a result, the ozone layer is reduced as a protective shield of the Earth against harmful UV radiation.

It has also been found that with increasing amounts of released hazardous substances (organic compounds containing fluorine and chlorine) and a decreasing ozone layer, skin cancer disease is increasing significantly. The Montreal Protocol, which has been in force since 1987, has significantly reduced the production of these hazardous substances.

Since then, their content in the atmosphere began to decline, but it did not help much to the ozone layer state. Ozone is constantly declining in the stratosphere, and the continued weakening of the ozone layer results in high doses of UV-radiation falling on the Earth’s surface, contributing to increasing numbers of melanomas and cancerous skin tumors.

Nature Itself Is to Blame

Nature itself produces some organic compounds containing fluorine and chlorine. Nature produces these organohalogens using bacteria, algae, fungal, plants and even mammals and releases them into the atmosphere. There are around 2000 known dangerous substances produced by nature.

In terms of environmental protection and environmental legislation, the natural production of organohalogens is several times greater than that produced by man. For example, marine and terrestrial biomass produces around 5 million tons of chloromethane (CH3Cl) per year, while humans produce only about 26,000 tons.

Who Actually Destroys the Ozone Layer?

It has been found that fungi are also involved in the production of chloromethane, a dangerous ozone layer.

The fungi of the family Hymenochaetaceae, of the genera Phellinus and Inonotus are constantly producing chloromethane in their tissues and releasing around 160,000 tons into the atmosphere per year. Around 75% of the produced chloromethane is released from tropical and subtropical forests, of which 86% is attributable to Phellinus.

Inhalation of chloromethane causes disturbances of the central nervous system, like some drugs. Chloromethane induces drowsiness, dizziness and confusion, causes breathing difficulties, disrupts walking and also speaks. At higher concentrations it causes muscle cramps, respiratory paralysis and death. Occurrence of Phellinus is rare in Europe.

Source & credit: Baird TT – Methyl chloride poisoning; Watling R, Harper DB – Chloromethane production by wood-rotting fungi and an estimate of the global flux to the atmosphere,