Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Its Effect on Skin Cancer Incidence

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Introduction This term paper is situated in an area of specific health related and environmental concern: the human dimensions of global change. For about a decade now there has been growing scientific interest in the global environmental changes resulting from anthropogenic activity. However most of this research has focused on the scientific bases of environmental transformations with little attention to how human social responses are linked to global change. As a result, scientists and researchers alike are beginning to ask questions about the symbiotic relationship between human well being and physical change. Abstract This research compilation plans to use one environmental health component of the global change phenomena -…show more content…
In general, the incidence of non-melanoma and malignant melanoma skin cancer has increased significantly over the past few decades, particularly in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavian countries. This large "outbreak" has intrigued researchers into examining the relationship of the growing risk of skin cancer to increases in ground-level UV-B radiation due to ozone depletion. According to the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion issued by the United Nations and the US Government, human-influenced ozone-depletion may peak around 1998 and will persist well into the 21st century. For the US and other mid- latitude countries of the Northern Hemisphere, ozone losses during summer and fall months may peak at 6-7% relative to ozone concentrations in the 1960s. Winter/spring depletion could peak at nearly twice those levels. Vienna Convention and Skin Cancer Incidence The 1985 Vienna Convention built a baseline for international restrictions on the production of ozone depleting substances. To evaluate the consequences of these restrictions the convention and its associates projected skin cancer incidence under three scenarios: 1) no restrictions (the Business as Usual curve); (2) reduced production of five ozone-depleting chemicals by 50 percent by 1999 (under the "Montreal

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