The announcement of a new way to make furniture padding foam without using ozone-destroying chemicals is good news for the environment, an atmospheric scientist says.

"It all sounds very plausible and very encouraging, and I'm not too surprised because of all the incentives right now" to find acceptable substitutes for the chemicals, said Ralph Cicerone of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.Union Carbide Corp. announced Thursday it has found a way to avoid using the chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, in making flexible polyurethane foam.

The new technology could eliminate 70 percent of CFC use in the flexible foam industry, which now accounts for 12 percent to 15 percent of the world's CFC use, said John Televantos of the company.