Some halogen containing compounds are useful in daily life. Some compounds of this class are responsible for the environmental degradation like pollution, exposure of flora and fauna to more and more of UV light etc., which causes destruction to a great extent. Name the class of these halo compounds. Discuss useful and harmful effects of halogen compounds. In your opinion, what should be done to minimise harmful effects of these compounds?
The mentioned halo compounds belong to the class of polyhalogen compounds.
Dichloromethane It is used as a solvent, as a paint remover, as a propellant in aerosols and as a process solvent in the manufacture of drugs. It is also used as a metal cleaning and finishing solvent.
Trichloromethane It is employed as a solvent for fats, alkaloids, iodine and other^ubstances.
Triiodomethane It is used as an antiseptic. Now, it has been replaced by some other compounds because of its objectionable smell.
But some compounds of this class are responsible for exposure of flora and fauna to more and more of UV light which causes destruction to great extent.
These are as follows:
(i) Tetrachloromethane When carbon tetrachloride is released into the air, it rises to the atmosphere and depletes the ozone layer. Depletion of the ozone layer is believed to increase human exposure to UV rays leading to increased skin cancer, eye diseases and disorders, and possible disruption of the immune system. These UV rays cause damage to plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean’s photic zone.
(ii) Freons Freon-113 is likely to remain in the air long enough to reach the upper atmosphere. Here, it provides chlorine atoms which damage the ozone layer. Because of this depletion, UV rays enters in our atmosphere and become responsible for the damage to great extent.
(iii) p-p’-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) It is non-biodegradable. Instead, it gets deposited in fatty tissues. If ingestion continues for a long time, DDT builds up within the animal and affect the reproductive system.
To minimise the harmful impacts of these compounds (i.e. freons, hydrofluorocarbons), fluorocarbons and hydrocarbons can be straight used to make refrigerants and air-conditioning equipments. They are stable in the stratosphere and are safe for flora and fauna.