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TXDOT says icy road sand mixture is safe

Stacey Spivey

POSTED: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 6:21pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 6:48pm

TXDOT has used 'Meltdown 20' for around twenty years to help melt ice off of the roads during winter weather. It's a magnesium chloride sand mixture that has a chemical reaction with ice and breaks it down. According to Envirotech Services its 75% less corrosive than salt, and dissipates after usage. "If we use chemicals, we're going to use chemicals that are environmentally friendly. We've been using Meltdown 20 here at TXDOT in the Tyler district since the early nineties and we really like it as a product, and we're going to keep using it as long as we can," said Larry Krantz, the public information officer for TXDOT.

Some question its impact on the environment, but TXDOT said they researched to find the most economically friendly mixture that will melt the ice. Krantz said "it would be easier and cheaper to use just salt," but TXDOT "cannot be a responsible agency and put something down like that's going to cause second or third layer illnesses, certainly disease or death."  Envirotech Services states, "when you spread salt and sand there is a great expense in cleaning it up - after the freeze has ended all the leftover sand and salt have to be swept up. Meltdown 20 ice control melts to infinity - there is no cleanup or environmental waste."

Prairie View A&M Agrilife Extension says it is not harmful. "They've used it for a while, I'm aware, and nobody should be concerned about any additional health issues," said Ashley Pellerin, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent. Pellerin says its safe for the environment, and the same chemicals are actually found in fertilizers. "Both of those are needed in small amounts by the plant, in plant growth," said Pellerin.

For more information on Meltdown 20, click here.

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