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Free radicals are important in many environmentally significant reactions (see the Chemistry in the Environment box on free radicals in Chapter 9 in the textbook). For example, photochemical smog (smog that results from the action of sunlight on air pollutants) forms in part by these two steps:
NO2 + UV light → NO + O
O + O2 → O3
The product of this reaction, ozone, is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere. (Upper atmospheric ozone is a natural part of the atmosphere that protects life on Earth from ultraviolet light.) Ozone is an eye and lung irritant and also accelerates the weathering of rubber products. Which of these species are free radicals?
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