Wintertime Road Salts are Toxic Pollutants

Wintertime road salts are toxic pollutants that not only ruin your car's paint job but destroy plants, wildlife, lakes, streams and ground water.
By Michael Asprion
December 2000/January 2001

In a five-year study, the group found that road salts are toxic to plants, wildlife, lakes, streams and ground water.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF


Content Tools

Related Content

Go Ahead … Use My Home Urinal

Home urinals are catching on. First found in high-end homes, many people are installing them when bu...

BPA Controversy Heats Up

The controversy surrounding the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) heated up as the findings from an imparti...

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week — It’s Fix a Leak Week!

Save water from March 12-18, 2012 during Fix a Leak Week!

Milestone Herbicide Creates Killer Compost

U.S. gardeners, organic farmers and commercial growers are reporting damaged or lost tomato crops fr...

It's more than just your paint job at stake. Road salts are toxic pollutants that cause problems for plants, wildlife, lakes, streams and ground water. 

It may melt slippery ice, but at what cost to the environment? Environment Canada, a science-based department of the Canadian government, has concluded that wintertime road salts are toxic pollutants that do more than mess up your car's paint job.

In a five-year study, the group found that road salts are toxic to plants, wildlife, lakes, streams and ground water, prompting Environment Canada to add road salts to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act's (CEPA) list of toxic substances.

To remedy the problem, Environment Canada's recommendations include improving storage techniques to prevent seepage; diluting snow piles at disposal sites to minimize soil and groundwater contamination; and reducing overall use during roadway application.

As new technology helps increase road safety, local workers help decrease salt use. Canada's Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) uses a combination of automated weather stations and sensors to predict road temperatures. The information helps forecasters better predict icy conditions and enables road crews to know when and how much to salt. In the future, RWIS will produce road surface temperature forecasts for entire road networks to help reduce road salt use by as much as 30%.

—Michael Asprion 








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.