|FTLComm - Tisdale - March 11, 2000|
|While in the Southern half of the province most of the winter's snow has long departed
this is not the case North of Prince Albert. La Ronge experienced an extensive snowfall
last week with up to two feet of the white stuff piled up on streets, sidewalks and
highways. With snow and traffic you get ice and the highway South of La Ronge was pretty treacherous
and that lead the Department of Highways to use up some sodium chloride. This vehicle
is typical of traffic that has been down that highway as the salt melts the ice turns
to super cooled water then the precipitated salt adheres to every surface of passing
cars and trucks.
Though the safety concerns that prompt the use of these large quantities of salt are understandable there is a growing concern about the environmental and toxic affects of high usage of salt for melting ice on roads.
The most remarkable and so far completely unexplained situation is that there is a direct correlation between the volume of salt used and the incidents of cancer. Medical and environmental researchers are not able to explain the occurrence and some authorities dispute the authenticity of the studies that are showing these high statistical correlation's when there really should be no connection between salt and a genetic related disease like cancer.
In the mean time a lot of research is going into alternatives to salt and the Federal Department of Transportation is actively encouraging provincial highway departments to back down on the use of salt until the problem can more thoroughly studied. Just looking at this one vehicle it is easy to see the huge volume of salt necessary to create this much of a coat. This is a significant amount both in weight and distribution. It not only has a pretty negative affect on the metal in the steel vehicle but also on the road itself and who know what it must be doing for this amount of material to be washed into ditches and then into streams where salt water is poison to fresh water life forms.