How does ozone depletion impact human health? It is a critical question that comes with equally scientifically proven answers. Most importantly, though, the ozone layer functions as an active natural filter of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The depletion of the ozone typically removes that protective layer. This leads to direct exposure to burning rays and radiation which can cause lots of health problems in humans. According to scientific experts, some of the health issues that people can easily be susceptible to are as follows.
How Does Ozone Depletion Impact Human Health?
Great risks on the skin ozone depletion means that people of all skin types, not just the fair-skinned, are exposed to harsh UV-B radiation. This means that predisposition to skin cancer remains quite high. There are about three significant types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Malignant melanoma is usually a key culprit which occurs due to direct exposure to the sun’s UV-B radiation. Therefore, more depletion of the ozone layer could lead to an increase in the case of non-melanoma skin cancer. Research also indicates that UV-B radiation has a way of causing damage to various parts of the eyes. Delicate areas such as the cornea, lens, and conjunctiva, which are eye membrane, are always susceptible. Exposure to radiation can also weaken a person’s immune system, leaving them unable to fight even the commonest of diseases.
Great Risks on the Environment
There is a significant interconnection between the environment and overall human health. These two depend on each other. But more so, humans cannot survive a minute longer without forests, plant life, and animals. As the ozone gets depleted, the environment becomes predisposed to the dangers of UV-B radiation. Since it inhibits proper plant growth, most of the plant species can easily become extinct. This means that besides, the apparent loss of vegetation and forest cover, the world stands to lose the much-needed food supplies. Again, plants not only provide food, but they prevent such issues as soil erosion. They also produce oxygen. UV-B radiation poses the same health risks to animals, just as it does to humans. Of course, most animals have heavy coats that can protect them against issues of skin cancer and pigmentation. However, some of the exposed and soft body parts such as the eyes, and ears can get affected by exposure to burning rays.
Risks to Marine Life
UV-B radiation exposure is not just limited to humans and the open environment. Marine life can also suffer. This is because Phytoplankton, which is critical to the formation of aquatic food can dwindle once it’s exposed to UV-B radiation. Radiation has also been known to cause irreversible damage to many types of marine life such as fish, shrimp, crab, and prawns in their early developmental stages. Such circumstances negatively impact overall food supply for humans, indirectly affecting human health.
So, how does ozone depletion impact human health? There are so many ways ozone depletion can affect not just human health, but also the environment and everything in it. Even the interconnectivity between humans, plants, and animals cannot be wished away. What affects the plant and water system, such as the UV-B radiation, has a critical effect on human life and the human body. You can see the actual effects of ozone depletion by visiting your local science museum or science center and learn how to make a difference as well.