Where is my stimulus check: Experts answer questions about payments

When will I get my stimulus check and other questions answered by University of Florida experts

When you get your stimulus check and how much you get depend on several factors. USA TODAY

Millions of Americans are expecting stimulus checks after the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To help our readers understand the stimulus checks, experts at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences compiled answers to frequently asked questions.

Michael Gutter, associate dean for UF/IFAS Extension; Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar, assistant professor of family financial management; and Lisa Leslie, family and consumer sciences agent for UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, answered the questions and offer tips below.

To provide our community with important public safety information, our newsroom is making stories related to the coronavirus free to read. To support important local journalism like this, please consider becoming a digital subscriber.

Question: Who can expect a stimulus check?

A: More than 80% of Americans who filed a tax return in 2019 (or 2018) can expect a stimulus check, even if they received a tax refund. Further, social Security recipients who are not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return to qualify for this payment.

For additional information on the eligibility criteria for the stimulus and how much you can expect to receive, visit IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center web page.

Para acceder a la información sobre pagos de impacto económico en español, presione aquí o visite IRS.gov/es.

Q: When will I receive my stimulus check?

A: The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have not yet indicated a specific date for distributing or mailing these economic impact payments to eligible taxpayers; however, they estimate that the processing of these checks will begin sometime in April.

Importantly, eligible taxpayers who select direct deposit as their payment option will likely receive this incentive faster than those who choose to receive the money via mail. The Treasury Department will soon launch a web portal where eligible individuals can provide their banking information to receive their payments via direct deposit.

Q: What can I do with the check if I don’t have an account with a financial institution?

A: There are check cashing alternatives for consumers who do not have a checking or savings account with a financial institution. Many local or regional banks, supermarket chains and big box stores will cash your check for a fee that is substantially lower than what you would pay at check cashing stores, which include cash advance, title loans and payday loan stores.

Q: I don’t usually follow a budget. Is now a good time to start?

A: Never a better time. We have a free money management calendar to help you get started. In addition, you can find more information and adaptable resources on how to develop a spending plan in our UF/IFAS Money Matters webpage.

Q: I’ve lost some or all of my income. How should I prioritize my expenses?

A: Think about things you pay for that aren’t necessities. Can you cut back on those or eliminate them?

Prioritize bills that pay for necessities, such as utilities and housing. Not paying bills or paying them late can lower your credit score, making future credit more expensive and more difficult to obtain.

Next, pay down debt. Credit cards are high interest debt. Paying off credit card debt can free more money in your future budget and save money on interest.

Q: I’m falling behind on my bills. What’s the best approach for getting back on track?

A: You may face tough decisions if your income has been greatly reduced or more uncertain than before. Work with your insurance companies, lenders, landlord or service providers about cutting back on the bill.

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests these strategies for protecting your credit if you’re affected by the pandemic and how to talk to your lenders if you are not able to make payments.

If you’re concerned about making your mortgage or rent payment, visit CFPB website to learn how the CARES act provides mortgage and rent relief.

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Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Transmission

If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.

The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why it’s so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.

If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so it’s important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.

There is no credible scientific evidence that Lyme disease is spread through sexual contact. Published studies in animals do not support sexual transmission (Moody 1991; Woodrum 1999), and the biology of the Lyme disease spirochete is not compatible this route of exposure (Porcella 2001). The ticks that transmit Lyme disease are very small and easily overlooked. Consequently, it is possible for sexual partners living in the same household to both become infected through tick bites, even if one or both partners doesn’t remember being bitten.

References:

There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic that’s safe for use when breastfeeding.

Although no cases of Lyme disease have been linked to blood transfusion, scientists have found that the Lyme disease bacteria can live in blood from a person with an active infection that is stored for donation. Individuals being treated for Lyme disease with an antibiotic should not donate blood. Individuals who have completed antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease may be considered as potential blood donors. The Red Cross external icon provides additional information on the most recent criteria for blood donation.

No. Lyme disease is spread through the bite of a blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis or Ixodes pacificus) that is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. In the United States, most infections occur in the following endemic areas:

  • Northeast and mid-Atlantic, from northeastern Virginia to Maine
  • North central states, mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • West Coast, particularly northern California

Maps showing the distribution of human cases are based on where people live, which because of travel, is not necessarily where they became infected. Cases are sometimes diagnosed and reported from an area where Lyme disease is not expected, but they are almost always travel-related.

The lone star tick is primarily found in the southeastern and eastern United States. Lone star ticks do not transmit Lyme disease. However, you are correct to be concerned about this very aggressive species. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) can spread human ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).

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The rash of STARI is a red, expanding “bull’ s eye” lesion that develops around the site of a lone star tick bite. The rash usually appears within seven days of tick bite and expands to a diameter of 8 centimeters (3 inches) or more. The rash should not be confused with much smaller areas of redness and discomfort that can occur commonly at tick bite sites. Unlike Lyme disease, STARI has not been linked to arthritis, neurological problems, or chronic symptoms. Nevertheless, the similarity between the STARI bull’s eye rash and the Lyme disease bull’s eye rash has created much public confusion. The pathogen responsible for STARI has not been identified.

In contrast, Lyme disease in North America is caused by a specific type of bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by two species of blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus. While blacklegged ticks exist in the southern U.S., their feeding habits in this region make them much less likely to maintain, sustain, and transmit Lyme disease.

Diagnosis, Testing, and Treatment

You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long you’ve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.

Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.

It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:

  1. Some people who receive antibiotics (e.g., doxycycline) early in disease (within the first few weeks after tick bite) may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  2. Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.

If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.

Untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy can lead to infection of the placenta. Spread from mother to fetus is possible but rare. Fortunately, with appropriate antibiotic treatment, there is no increased risk of adverse birth outcomes.* There are no published studies assessing developmental outcomes of children whose mothers acquired Lyme disease during pregnancy.

Blacklegged ticks can spread germs that cause Lyme disease and several other tickborne diseases. A person who has more than one tickborne disease at a time is said to have a co-infection. The frequency of co-infections varies widely from place-to-place and over time.

The most common co-infections that occur with Lyme disease are anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In general:

  • Co-infection with Lyme disease and anaplasmosis happens from 2 to 12% of the time. 1-4
  • Other co-infections, including babesiosis, Powassan virus disease, and Borrelia miyamotoi disease, occur less frequently. Additional research is needed to know how often these co-infections occur.

Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are treated with the same antibiotic, so a person getting treatment for Lyme disease will be treated for anaplasmosis at the same time, regardless of whether additional tests were run. Babesiosis is a parasitic disease that is treated with different medications. If your Lyme disease symptoms do not seem to be going away after taking antibiotics, see your healthcare provider.

Although some providers test patients for Bartonella or Mycoplasma co-infections, there is no evidence that these germs are spread by ticks. 5,6 If you have been diagnosed with co-infections, you may consider getting a second opinion. CDC recommends finding a board-certified infectious disease specialist, internist, or pediatrician affiliated with a university teaching hospital. Learn more about how to select a healthcare provider.

Your state health department is typically the best source of information about tickborne diseases that occur your area.

References:

Probably not. First, you should only have an immunoblot (such as an FDA-approved Western Blot or striped blot) test done if your blood has already been tested and found reactive with an EIA or IFA.

Second, the IgM Western Blot test result is only meaningful during the first four weeks of illness. If you have been infected for longer than 4 to 6 weeks and the IgG Western Blot is still negative, it is highly likely that the IgM result is incorrect (e.g., a false positive). This does not mean that you are not ill, but it does suggest that the cause of illness is something other than the Lyme disease bacterium. For more information, see the in-depth discussion regarding testing for Lyme disease.

As with many infectious diseases, there is no test that can “prove” cure. Tests for Lyme disease detect antibodies produced by the human immune system to fight off the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that cause Lyme disease. These antibodies can persist long after the infection is gone. This means that if your blood tests positive, then it will likely continue to test positive for months or even years even though the bacteria are no longer present.

A research tool called PCR can detect bacterial DNA in some patients. Unfortunately, this is also not helpful as a test of whether the antibiotics have killed all the bacteria. Studies have shown that DNA fragments from dead bacteria can be detected for many months after treatment. Studies have also shown that the remaining DNA fragments are not infectious. Positive PCR test results are analogous to a crime scene – – just because a robbery occurred and the robber left his DNA, it doesn’ t mean that the robber is still in the house. Similarly, just because DNA fragments from an infection remain, it doesn’ t mean the bacteria are alive or viable.

No. The tests for Lyme disease detect antibodies made by the immune system to fight off the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. Your immune system continues to make the antibodies for months or years after the infection is gone. This means that once your blood tests positive, it will continue to test positive for months to years even though the bacteria are no longer present. Unfortunately, in the case of bacterial infections, these antibodies don’t prevent someone from getting Lyme disease again if they are bitten by another infected tick.

No. Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely. Most patients who are treated in later stages of the disease also respond well to antibiotics, although some may have suffered long-term damage to the nervous system or joints. It is not uncommon for patients treated for Lyme disease with a recommended 2 to 4 week course of antibiotics to have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches at the time they finish treatment. In a small percentage of cases, these symptoms can last for more than 6 months. These symptoms cannot be cured by longer courses of antibiotics, but they generally improve on their own, over time.

In areas where Lyme disease is common, most family practice physicians, general practitioners, and pediatricians are familiar with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease. If you have symptoms that suggest Lyme disease, or any other tick-borne infection, tell your doctor all these facts. Many doctors may not consider tick-borne diseases in diagnosing your illness unless you:

  • Report being bitten by a tick, or
  • Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.

In areas where Lyme disease is not common or for more complicated cases of Lyme disease, infectious disease specialists are often the best type of doctor to see. Please note that CDC cannot evaluate the qualifications and competence of individual doctors; however, the National Institutes of Health provides information about how to choose a doctor. external icon Additionally, your state medical board external icon can help you find out if your health care provider is in good standing.

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Lyme disease is caused by infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called ”Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” (PTLDS). The term “chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) is also sometimes used; however, this term has been used to describe a wide variety of different conditions and therefore can be confusing. Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts do not support its use (Feder et al., 2007 external icon ). For more information, see the National Institutes of Health — “Chronic Lyme Disease” external icon .

Surveillance Questions

Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, this number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year.

Surveillance systems provide vital information but they do not capture every illness. Because only a fraction of illnesses are reported, researchers need to estimate the total burden of illness to set public health goals, allocate resources, and measure the economic impact of disease. CDC uses the best data available and makes reasonable adjustments—based on related data, previous study results, and common assumptions—to account for missing pieces of information.

To improve public health, CDC wants to know how many people are actually diagnosed with Lyme disease each year and for this reason has conducted two studies:

  • Project 1 (Lyme Disease Testing by Large Commercial Laboratories in the United States external icon ) estimated the number of people who tested positive for Lyme disease based on data obtained from a survey of clinical laboratories. Researchers estimated that 288,000 (range 240,000–444,000) infections occur among patients for whom a laboratory specimen was submitted in 2008.
  • Project 2 (Incidence of Clinician-Diagnosed Lyme Disease, United States, 2005–2010) estimated the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease based on medical claims information from a large insurance database. In this study, researchers estimated that 329,000 (range 296,000–376,000) cases of Lyme disease occur annually in the United States.

Results of these studies suggest that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States is around 300,000. Notably, these estimates do not affect our understanding of the geographic distribution of Lyme disease. Lyme disease cases are concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96% of cases reported to CDC. The results obtained using the new estimation methods mirror the geographic distribution of cases that is shown by national surveillance.

As with most other reportable diseases, reporting requirements for Lyme disease are determined by state laws or regulations. In most states, Lyme disease cases are reported by licensed health care providers, diagnostic laboratories, or hospitals. States and the District of Columbia remove all personally identifiable information, then share their data with CDC, which compiles and publishes the information for the Nation. CDC has no way of linking this information back to the original patient.

CDC summarizes national surveillance data based on these reports, and publishes results in the CDC publication, the Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. The latest summary was published in the Surveillance for Lyme Disease — United States, 2008–2015.

The goal of Lyme disease surveillance is not to capture every case, but to systematically gather and analyze public health data in a way that enables public health officials to look for trends and take actions to reduce disease and improve public health.

Final annual case counts are published when the year is over and all states and territories have verified their data, typically in the fall of the following year. Data through 2015 can be found in the MMWR Summary of Notifiable Diseases. Data from 2016 forward are found in CDC WONDER. Selected Lyme disease statistics, tables and charts are also available on the CDC Lyme disease website.

Reporting of all nationally notifiable diseases, including Lyme disease, is based on standard surveillance case definitions developed by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and CDC. The usefulness of public health surveillance data depends on its uniformity, simplicity, and timeliness. Surveillance case definitions establish uniform criteria for disease reporting and should not be used as the sole criteria for establishing clinical diagnoses, determining the standard of care necessary for a particular patient, setting guidelines for quality assurance, or providing standards for reimbursement. The national surveillance case definition for Lyme disease is available on CDC’ s web site.

CDC—Specific Questions

Lyme Corps was a train-the trainer program for Lyme disease focused on prevention and early recognition of Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases. It ran from 2012 to 2016.

Lyme Corps members consisted of medical and public health students chosen annually from a selected university system in areas of high Lyme disease incidence. The members facilitated Lyme disease education in conjunction with local health care systems, health departments, schools, and community events (farmers’ markets, trail runs, etc.). Universities and states involved in Lyme Corps included:

  • Drexel University/Philadelphia Dept. of Health, 2012-2013
  • University of Virginia/James Madison University external icon /Virginia Dept. of Health, 2013-2014
  • University of Vermont external icon /Vermont Dept. of Health, 2014-2015
  • University of Maryland/Johns Hopkins University/Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences/ Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2015-2016

Lyme Corps participants have also assisted with the following research projects:

Lyme Corps members were not federal employees; their views and opinions did not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the U.S. Government.

CDC has a program of service, research, and education focusing on the prevention and control of Lyme disease. Activities of this program include:

  • Maintaining and analyzing national surveillance data for Lyme disease
  • Conducting epidemiologic investigations
  • Offering diagnostic and reference laboratory services
  • Developing and testing strategies for the control and prevention of this disease in humans
  • Supporting education of the public and health care providers

In addition, the TickNET program supports research that contributes to the understanding of tickborne diseases.

www.cdc.gov

US EPA

Key Resources

Additional Information

What is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer ozone layerThe region of the stratosphere containing the bulk of atmospheric ozone. The ozone layer lies approximately 15-40 kilometers (10-25 miles) above the Earth’s surface, in the stratosphere. Depletion of this layer by ozone depleting substances (ODS) will lead to higher UVB levels, which in turn will cause increased skin cancers and cataracts and potential damage to some marine organisms, plants, and plastics. The science page (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/index.html) offers much more detail on the science of ozone depletion. is a concentration of ozone molecules in the stratosphere stratosphereThe region of the atmosphere above the troposphere. The stratosphere extends from about 10km to about 50km in altitude. Commercial airlines fly in the lower stratosphere. The stratosphere gets warmer at higher altitudes. In fact, this warming is caused by ozone absorbing ultraviolet radiation. Warm air remains in the upper stratosphere, and cool air remains lower, so there is much less vertical mixing in this region than in the troposphere. . About 90 percent of the planet’s ozone is in the ozone layer. The layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that surrounds us is called the troposphere troposphereThe region of the atmosphere closest to the Earth. The troposphere extends from the surface up to about 10 km in altitude, although this height varies with latitude. Almost all weather takes place in the troposphere. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, is only 8.8 km high. Temperatures decrease with altitude in the troposphere. As warm air rises, it cools, falling back to Earth. This process, known as convection, means there are huge air movements that mix the troposphere very efficiently. . The stratosphere, the next higher layer, extends about 6 to 31 miles (or 10 to 50 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface. Learn more about the ozone layer.

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Why is the ozone layer important?

Stratospheric ozone is a naturally occurring gas that filters the sun’s ultraviolet (UV UVUltraviolet radiation is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths shorter than visible light. The sun produces UV, which is commonly split into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA is not absorbed by ozone. UVB is mostly absorbed by ozone, although some reaches the Earth. UVC is completely absorbed by ozone and normal oxygen. NASA provides more information on their web site (http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/Ozone/radiation.html). ) radiation. A diminished ozone layer allows more UV radiation to reach the Earth’s surface. For people, overexposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. Increased UV can also lead to reduced crop yield and disruptions in the marine food chain. Learn about the health and environmental effects of ozone layer depletion.

What is ozone depletion, and how does it occur?

Ozone molecules in the stratosphere are constantly being produced and destroyed by different types of UV radiation from the sun. Normally, the production and destruction is balanced, so the amount of ozone in the stratosphere at any given time is stable. However, scientists have discovered that certain chemicals react with UV radiation in the stratosphere, which causes them to break apart and release chlorine or bromine atoms. These atoms, in turn, destroy ozone molecules.

Ozone-depleting substances (ODS ODSA compound that contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion. ODS include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, hydrobromofluorocarbons, chlorobromomethane, and methyl chloroform. ODS are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere. When they break down, they release chlorine or bromine atoms, which then deplete ozone. A detailed list (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/ods/index.html) of class I and class II substances with their ODPs, GWPs, and CAS numbers are available. ), which include chlorofluorocarbons chlorofluorocarbonsGases covered under the 1987 Montreal Protocol and used for refrigeration, air conditioning, packaging, insulation, solvents, or aerosol propellants. Since they are not destroyed in the lower atmosphere, CFCs drift into the upper atmosphere where, given suitable conditions, they break down ozone. These gases are being replaced by other compounds: hydrochlorofluorocarbons, an interim replacement for CFCs that are also covered under the Montreal Protocol, and hydrofluorocarbons, which are covered under the Kyoto Protocol. All these substances are also greenhouse gases. See hydrochlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, ozone depleting substance. (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons hydrofluorocarbonsCompounds containing only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon atoms. They were introduced as alternatives to ozone depleting substances in serving many industrial, commercial, and personal needs. HFCs are emitted as by-products of industrial processes and are also used in manufacturing. They do not significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, but they are powerful greenhouse gases with global warming potentials ranging from 140 (HFC-152a) to 11,700 (HFC-23). (HCFCs), were once used widely in refrigerants, insulating foams, solvents, and other applications. These substances all release chlorine atoms into the stratosphere. A single chlorine atom can break apart more than 100,000 ozone molecules.

Other chemicals that damage the ozone layer include methyl bromide methyl bromideA compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and bromine. Methyl Bromide is an effective pesticide used to fumigate soil and many agricultural products. Because it contains bromine, it depletes stratospheric ozone and has an ozone depletion potential of 0.6. Production of methyl bromide was phased out on December 31, 2004, except for allowable exemptions. Much more information is available (http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/index.html). (used as a pesticide), halons halonsCompounds, also known as bromofluorocarbons, that contain bromine, fluorine, and carbon. They are generally used as fire extinguishing agents and cause ozone depletion. Bromine is many times more effective at destroying stratospheric ozone than chlorine. See ozone depleting substance. (used in fire extinguishers), and methyl chloroform methyl chloroformA compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine. Methyl chloroform is used as an industrial solvent. Its ozone depletion potential is 0.11. (used as a solvent in industrial processes). As methyl bromide and halons are broken apart, they release bromine atoms, which are 60 times more destructive to ozone molecules than chlorine atoms.

Atmospheric levels of these ODS rapidly increased before the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its subsequent revisions and amendments. However, the atmospheric levels of nearly all of these substances have declined substantially in the past two decades.

What is the ozone hole?

One example of ozone depletion is the annual ozone «hole» over Antarctica that has occurred during the Antarctic spring since the early 1980s. This is not really a hole through the ozone layer, but rather a large area of the stratosphere with extremely low amounts of ozone.

It is important to understand that ozone depletion is not limited to the area over the South Pole. Research has shown that ozone depletion occurs over the latitudes that include North America, Europe, Asia, and much of Africa, Australia, and South America.

What is the connection between ozone depletion and climate change?

ODSs and many of their non-ozone depleting substitutes are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Some ODSs and ODS substitutes have global warming potentials that are several thousand times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Recently, ODS alternatives that have lower global warming potentials have become available. Learn more about EPA’s efforts to ensure a safe, smooth transition away from ODSs to substitutes that have reduced effects on climate change.

How do we know that natural sources are not responsible for ozone depletion?

Although it is true that volcanoes and oceans release large amounts of chlorine, the chlorine from these sources is easily dissolved in water and washes out of the atmosphere in rain. In contrast, CFCs do not break down in the lower atmosphere or dissolve in water. Although they are heavier than air, they are eventually carried into the stratosphere. Scientists use balloons, aircraft, and satellites to measure the composition of the stratosphere. These measurements show a noticeable increase in stratospheric chlorine since 1985. The timing of this increase corresponds with the increase in emissions of CFCs and other ODS caused by human activities.

What is being done to protect the ozone layer?

As required under Title VI of the Clean Air Act, EPA is responsible for developing and implementing programs that protect the ozone layer. EPA has established regulations to protect Learn more about EPA’s efforts to protect the ozone layer.

Is there general agreement among scientists on the science of ozone depletion?

Yes, an international consensus about the causes and effects of ozone depletion has emerged. Under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Exit and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Exit, the scientific community issues periodic reports on the science of ozone depletion. Over 300 scientists worldwide drafted and reviewed the most recent “state-of-the-science” analysis, WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014. Exit

Will the ozone layer recover?

The ozone layer is expected to return to normal levels by about 2050. But, it is very important that the world comply with the Montreal Protocol; delays in ending production and use of ozone-depleting substances could cause additional damage to the ozone layer and prolong its recovery. Learn more about the current status of the ozone layer.

Contact Us to ask a question, provide feedback, or report a problem.

www.epa.gov

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