The increasing reliance on various chemicals in all facets of society has led to a very high level of annual atmospheric emissions. Many of the emitted chemicals are dangerous; some may deplete the protective ozone layer, others contribute to photochemical smog, some are carcinogenic or mutagenic. Methods for minimizing the emissions of hazardous chemicals are actively being sought by U.S. government agencies, especially the Environmental Protection Agency. This study is an initial analysis of a novel technique for decomposing certain dangerous chemical gases before they are released to the atmosphere. Decomposition of these gases would be accomplished with a carbon dioxide laser. Photodissociation in specific cases would generate products that are less dangerous than the original chemical. The method appears promising as a means of reducing the deleterious effects of certain widely used industrial chemicals.
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