While Americans may dream of a white Christmas, living with snow the rest of the season is driving a nightmare salt habit.
Each year, Americans spread more than 48 billion pounds of salt on roadways to ward off the effects of winter weather. But it comes at a cost: De-icing salt degrades roads and bridges, contaminates drinking water and harms the environment, according to a slate of scientists expressing growing alarm.
“The issue of road salt has been out in front of us for decades but has received very little attention until the past five years,” said Rick Relyea, a biological scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute near Albany, New York. “Then we see, my goodness, it is everywhere, and it is a growing problem.”
It’s a problem that’s growing exponentially.
The country used about 164,000 tons of road salt in 1940, U.S. Geological Survey data shows. It broke 1 million tons in 1954, 10 million in 1985, and now averages more than 24 million tons a year.USA Today