Photo by Flickr user jloder

Dichloromethane might be preventing the ozone layer from healing

Sammy Nickalls
July 13, 2017

OK, first thing’s first: it’s cool if you drink decaf coffee. Maybe caffeine gives you migraines, or maybe it keeps you up all night, or heck, maybe you just like decaf coffee and don’t need an excuse for it, thank you very much. But there’s one thing you should know about your decaf cup of joe for the sake of the planet: some kinds of decaf can destroy the ozone. According to a recent article in New Scientist, dichloromethane (which is used to "make 'ozone-friendly' chemicals for air conditioners and refrigerators," because life is cruel and ironic) could delay the healing of our woefully injured ozone by over three decades. 

Dichloromethane previously wasn't regulated because it was thought it was "too short-lived for much of it to reach the stratosphere," but new research shows its release of chlorine could greatly increase by 2050, preventing the hole in the ozone layer from healing, according to New Scientist.

So what does this have to do with coffee? Well, what else is dichloromethane in? You guessed it: chemically-processed decaf coffee. Sprudge highlights that although dichloromethane is an industrial solvent and a paint thinner, it's also used to decaffeinate coffee and tea, which is kind of horrifying all on its own.

Luckily, there's a way around it that doesn’t kill the Earth or skeeve you out: drink water-processed decaf coffee. Chemically-processed decaf is common for big bulk brands of coffee you'd buy at Walmart, but if you switch to a higher-quality roaster, odds are they'll care enough about the quality of their coffee that they'll only work with water-processed products.

In other words? Save the earth and the ozone layer by buying tastier coffee. Kind of sounds like a win-win to us.

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