Navigation Links
Scientists in first global study of 'poison' gas in the atmosphere
Date:9/19/2007

It was used as a chemical weapon in the trenches in the First World War, but nearly a century later, new research by an international team of scientists has discovered that phosgene is present in significant quantities in the atmosphere.

Phosgene was still stockpiled in military arsenals well after the Second World War, but its continued presence in the atmosphere today is due to man-made chlorinated hydrocarbons used in the chemical industry.

A team, including Professor Peter Bernath, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, has carried out the first study of the global distribution of the gas. The team also involved scientists from the Universities of Waterloo and Toronto in Canada, NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in the USA.

Between February 2004 and May 2006, they used the Canadian Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite to measure the incidence of the gas. The research, which was financed by the Canada Space Agency (CSA) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, is published in the latest edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

The scientists discovered that the main atmospheric concentration of the gas was above the Equator, though it was present in some quantity in all latitudes. They found that levels of phosgene in the atmosphere had reduced since previous studies in the 1980s and 1990s, though its continued presence is a contributor to ozone depletion.

Phosgene plays a major role in the preparation of pharmaceuticals, herbicides, insecticides, synthetic foams, resins and polymers, though its use is being reduced.

Professor Bernath said: "There is a small, but not negligible, concentration of phosgene in the troposphere. Chlorinated hydrocarbons don't occur in nature but as chlorinated solvents they are used by industry. They are short-lived and they decay rapidly, but they decay into phosgene.

"It's very toxic and pretty nasty stuff - its reputation is well deserved. Considering the health hazards associated with phosgene, the chemical industry is trying to find substitutes to eliminate its use. But the use of chlorinated hydrocarbons is being reduced because of the legal restrictions of the Montreal Protocol, so phosgene is also decreasing."

Higher up in the atmosphere phosgene can be slowly oxidized by ultraviolet rays, and so it continues to play a role in the depletion of the ozone layer.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Garner
dcg501@york.ac.uk
44-019-044-32153
University of York
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
2. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
3. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
4. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
5. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
6. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
7. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
8. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
9. Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores
10. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
11. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, and the ... five (5) year funding commitment by Securus to ... rehabilitation and reentry support to more inmates and ... 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is an ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... -- higi SH llc (higi) announced today the launch ... industry thought-leaders and celebrity influencers looking to encourage, ... steps to live healthier, more active lives. ... built the largest self-screening health station network in ... have conducted over 185 million biometric screenings.  The ...
(Date:11/24/2016)... -- Cercacor today introduced Ember TM Sport Premium ... measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, Perfusion Index, ... approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, using only ... key data about their bodies to help monitor these ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When hemoglobin and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 AskLinkerReports.com has published a report ... Amyloglucosidase Industry 2016 Market Research Report. From a basic outline ... overview are all covered in the report. This report projects ... analysis of the Amyloglucosidase industry. ... , , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Opal Kelly, a ... device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the FOMD-ACV-A4, the company's first ... a small, thin, SODIMM-style module that fits a standard 204-pin SODIMM socket for ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, ... ... announces the commercial launch of flexible packaging for their exceptionally efficient human ... bag system extends RoosterBio’s portfolio of bioprocess media products engineered to radically ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016  HedgePath Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQX: HPPI), ... and plans to commercialize innovative therapeutics for patients ... stock were approved for trading on the OTCQX ... the OTCQX, effective today, under the ticker symbol ... market, companies must meet high financial standards, follow ...
Breaking Biology Technology: