Navigation Links
Termite insecticide a potent greenhouse gas
Date:1/21/2009

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 21, 2009 An insecticide used to fumigate termite-infested buildings is a strong greenhouse gas that lives in the atmosphere nearly 10 times longer than previously thought, UC Irvine research has found.

Sulfuryl fluoride, UCI chemists discovered, stays in the atmosphere at least 30-40 years and perhaps as long as 100 years. Prior studies estimated its atmospheric lifetime at as low as five years, grossly underestimating the global warming potential.

The fact that sulfuryl fluoride exists for decades coupled with evidence that levels have nearly doubled in the last six years concerns study authors Mads Sulbaek Andersen, Donald Blake and Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, who discovered that chlorofluorocarbons in aerosol cans and other products damage the ozone layer. That finding led to a worldwide ban on CFCs.

"Sulfuryl fluoride has a long enough lifetime in the atmosphere that we cannot just close our eyes," said Sulbaek Andersen, a postdoctoral researcher in the Rowland-Blake laboratory and lead author of the study. "The level in the atmosphere is rising fast, and it doesn't seem to disappear very quickly."

This study will appear online Jan. 21 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Kilogram for kilogram, sulfuryl fluoride is about 4,000 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat, though much less of it exists in the atmosphere.

Its climate impact in California each year equals that of carbon dioxide emitted from about 1 million vehicles. About 60 percent of the world's sulfuryl fluoride use occurs in California.

Sulfuryl fluoride blocks a wavelength of heat that otherwise could easily escape the Earth, the scientists said. Carbon dioxide blocks a different wavelength, trapping heat near the surface.

"The only place where the planet is able to emit heat that escapes the atmosphere is in the region that sulfuryl fluoride blocks," said Blake, chemistry professor. "If we put something with this blocking effect in that area, then we're in trouble and we are putting something in there."

The chemists worry that emissions will increase as new uses are found for sulfuryl fluoride especially given the ban of methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide regulated under the Montreal Protocol. Sulfuryl fluoride emissions are not regulated, though officials do consider it a toxic contaminant.

The insecticide is pumped into a tent that covers a termite-infested structure. When the tent is removed, the compound escapes into the atmosphere. Sulbaek Andersen, Blake and Rowland believe a suitable replacement should be found, one with less global warming potential.

To measure sulfuryl fluoride's atmospheric lifetime, the chemists put it inside a Pyrex chamber with compounds that are well understood in the atmosphere, such as ethane. They shined lamps on the chamber to simulate sunlight, which caused chemical reactions that eliminated the compounds from the air.

By monitoring sulfuryl fluoride changes compared with changes to the well-known compounds, they were able to estimate its atmospheric lifetime.

"This is a cautionary paper," said Rowland, Donald Bren Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science. "It tells us that we need to be thinking globally and acting locally."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Did termites help Katrina destroy New Orleans floodwalls?
2. Study shows single insecticide application can kill 3 cockroach generations
3. Oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to tackle common beetle pest
4. Insecticide combo delivers knockout punch
5. Natural insecticide re-created in the lab
6. Researchers identify potential new weapon in battle against HIV infection
7. Potential therapy for congenital muscular dystrophy
8. Study first to pinpoint why analgesic drugs may be less potent in females than in males
9. UC San Diego and Genentech scientists develop potentially disruptive antibody sequencing technology
10. Pitt researchers create non-toxic clean-up method for potentially toxic nano materials
11. UC Davis team refines cancer treatments to reduce potential nerve damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 According to a new ... Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, ... IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 ... (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No two ... researchers at the New York University Tandon School ... Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints ... used in mobile phones and other electronic devices ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... SEATTLE , April 5, 2017  The Allen ... the Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic ... large-scale 3D imaging data, the first application of deep ... edited human stem cell lines and a growing suite ... the platform for these and future publicly available resources ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand ... Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... International research firm Parks Associates announced today that ... TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in Scottsdale, ... security market and how smart safety and security products impact the competitive ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main ... "The residential security market has experienced continued ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the ... sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan and Jennifer Jaye ... GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary approach to achieving ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: