Did Big Hair Put A Hole In The Ozone Layer?

I’m pretty sure I am partially responsible for the hole in the ozone. Back in the 1980s I was a big fan of Aquanet hairspray. A BIG fan. My chemistry teacher, Mr. Venefra, used to shake his finger at me and tell me that all the CFCs I was lacquering my hair with would make his idols -- Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland – cringe. Molina and Rowland were the chemists who went on to win the Nobel Prize for scientifically examining what happens to CFCs released into the atmosphere. What they found would not only alter the contents of hairspray, but would also change environmental policy the world over.

A recent Reactions video from the American Chemical Society goes into the specifics of how hairspray works – and points out what I’ve known for a long time: The hairspray of today doesn’t have the holding power of my trusty Aquanet of the 80s. Oh – and the intro to this video is just as cheesy as my hairstyle.


high school traciTraci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s Senior Digital Editor. Her big-hair days are behind her but she still marvels at how high she could make her coiffed hair rise. You can email her at tpurdum@putman.net. And if you dare, submit your high school picture in the comments below. We'll have a hair off. . .