Twelve member nations of the European Economic Community have taken decisive action to reduce the use of synthetic compounds that destroy the Earth's ozone layer.
Chlorofluorocarbons, CFC for short, are used in aerosol sprays, refrigeration coolants, cleaning agents and several other products, and are blamed for depletion of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays and for an increase in skin cancer.By voting to decrease production of CFC by 85 percent and to seek a total ban on production by the year 2000, the market countries acted wisely.
Several other countries, including the United States, which has already banned use of the compounds in aerosol propellants, would be smart to follow the Common Market's lead.
Common Market states are responsible for about 50 percent of the world's annual CFC production of 1 million tons.
Other nations have joined the Montreal Protocol, an international accord aimed at reducing and eventually licking the problem, but they could do more.
In 1974, scientists forecast a 7 to 13 percent decline in ozone if the use of chlorofluorocarbons continued. A year later a federal task force agreed with the studies, recommending a nationwide ban on the use of such chemicals in aerosols.
Since that time, Du Pont, the world's largest CFC producer, and some other companies have taken steps to produce substitute chemicals that help to reduce the problem but which cause no serious problems for consumers. But much more can and must be accomplished.
The potential for making continued progress in combatting the ozone problem is evidenced by the fact that Du Pont recently announced the discovery of a chemical blend for existing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment that is 97 percent less harmful than traditional CFC.
Despite cries from the CFS-producing industry, such discoveries have cost the consumer little. Scientists and companies have learned that products that provide the public with comfort and satisfaction can be made in many ways.