Introduction:Environmental hazards of road salt are explained by scientists and geologists who fear it is damaging the habitat. Let's hope they get smart and find better alternatives to salt for icy winter roads.
According to a New York based scientist, Nancy Karraker, told listeners at The University of Maine that road salt can affect seasonal wetland amphibians as far as 550 feet from roads.
The amphibians also avoid crossing roads with the salt, preventing them from reaching their traditional breeding areas.
All water ways are potentially affected in a negative way by over 13 million tons of road salt being dumped on roads in winter states. The chemistry of lakes, streams, rivers and ocean water are changed by the chloride salt.
The soil's minerals are also altered by the salt soaking into it. No one paid attention to years of road salt but now environmentalists are waving red flags.
The effect of excess road salt puts a strain on the flora around us and kills trees, especially white pines. It also kills off native species allowing invasive plants and animals to take over.
Animals are especially subject to the negative effects of road salt. Deer and moose are drawn to it and end up getting hit on busy highways, causing collisions.
Dogs and cats walk in the salt causing burns on their tender paws. Do be sure to gently wipe off your pet's feet and underside with a damp cloth after they have been outside in salty areas.
Veterinarians report routine cases of poisoning due to the animals licking off the de-icing salt.
Excess road salt can affect drinking water in many areas. The area of Waterloo found high levels of chloride in the municipal water wells raising almost to a dangerous level set by the Ministry of Environment.
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