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Nylon: sheer havoc.

Nylon: Sheer havoc

Two scientists trying to decipher the chemistry of global warming point provocatively toward the mass production of stockings and other nylon products as a factor. Their calculations, detailed in the Feb. 22 SCIENCE, provide the firmest evidence yet that humans are responsible for a significant fraction of the nitrous oxide entering the atmosphere.

Nitrous oxide, released as a by-product of nylon manufacturing, contributes to the destruction of stratospheric ozone and is a powerful greenhouse gas. Chemists Mark H. Thiemens and William C. Trogler of the University of California, San Diego, calculate that nylon production worldwide accounts for about one-tenth of the annual 0.2 percent increase in atmospheric levels of the gas. That's a small contribution compared with the nitrous oxide made by bacteria, Trogler says. "But with nitrous oxide's atmospheric lifetime of 150 years, the accumulation is going to have some bad long-term consequences."

The researchers suggest that nylon makers use available technology to prevent nitrous oxide release.
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Title Annotation:mass production of nylon may be a factor in global warming
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 23, 1991
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