While we are all dealing with climate change today, 35 years ago there was another environmental threat that was successfully abated.  Damage to the ozone layer, that fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, was happening at an alarming rate.  Caused by a number of commonly used chemicals, including Freon (used in spray cans, air conditioners) and methyl bromide, an odorless, colorless gas used to control a wide variety of pests in agriculture and shipping, including fungi, weeds, insects, nematodes, and rodents.

Fortunately, work done to establish the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, was signed September 16, 1987.  As a result, along with other countries, the United States has phased out general production and consumption of methyl bromide (some important exceptions for critical uses remain). 

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed September 16 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is an amazing demonstration of what can be accomplished by the global community.  Learn more about protecting the ozone layer.

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