Although the concentration of the sulfuryl fluoride gas in our atmosphere is not of great concern at the moment, the authors warn that its increased concentration in the future is indeed a potential problem.
The authors conclude, “With mean SO2F2 tropospheric mixing ratios of 1.4 ppt, its radiative forcing is small and it is probably an insignificant sulfur source to the stratosphere. However, with a high global warming potential similar to CFC-11, and likely increases in its future use, continued atmospheric monitoring of SO2F2 is warranted.”
U.S. chemist Jens MÃ¼hle, another author of the study, stated, "Unfortunately, it turns out that sulfuryl fluoride is a greenhouse gas with a longer lifetime than previously assumed. This has to be taken into account before large amounts are emitted into the atmosphere."
Prinn concludes, within the MIT News article, that, "... fumigation is a big industry, and it's absolutely needed to preserve our buildings and food supply."
The article adds, “But identifying the greenhouse risks from this particular compound, before many factories have been built to produce it in very large amounts, would give the industry a chance to find other substitutes at a time when that's still a relatively easy change to implement."
Dr. Prinn comments, "Given human inventiveness, there are surely other alternatives out there.”
And, he also states that the world should in this case, and in all cases that are potential problems to our climate and human health, “… try to head off potential dangers as early as possible, rather than wait until it's a mature industry with lots of capital and jobs at stake."
So, we know there is a problem out there with sulfuryl fluoride. Will we do something about it now, rather than later--when its concentration is much higher?