January 23, 1978. On this date, Sweden announced it would ban aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons as the propelling agent. It was the first country in the world to do so. At the time, evidence had increasingly suggested that chlorofluorocarbons were damaging Earth ozone layer. The U.S. announced it would ban flurocarbon gases in aerosol products on October 15, 1978.
Virtually every country on Earth banned the use of chlorofluorocarbon-propelled aerosol cans with the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1989.
As it turned out, the transition to modern aerosols cans was easy. Most consumers didn’t notice any difference among their favorite sprays as aerosol producers began using other propellant gases – propane, n-butane and isobutene – or mechanical pumps.
Has this ban on chlorofluorocarbons sprayed into Earth’s atmosphere helped our ozone layer? Although scientists knew that, in theory, these chemicals could harm the ozone layer, the Antarctic ozone hole was not discovered until 1979. From 1980 through the early 1990s, the hole rapidly grew in size and depth. Since the mid-1990s, area and depth have roughly stabilized, although scientists said recently that the ozone hole is still not in recovery.
Bottom line: On January 23, 1978, Sweden became the first country to announce it would ban aerosol sprays containing chlorofluorocarbons as the propelling agent. Virtually every country banned the use of these sprays by 1989, with the adoption of the Montreal Protocol. Since then, the Antarctic ozone hole has stabilized, but it is not yet in recovery.