Dust control is a necessity for healthy air quality. But when it isn’t done properly, it can negatively impact the environment.
A truck on a country road kicking up a billowing cloud of dust is a romantic sight — a common scene in films and songs. But though it may be a beautiful sight for some, it can have grim consequences for our wellbeing.
Outdoor dust is a huge danger to our health. As the GeoScience and Environmental Change Science Center explains, "Some minerals in dust are extremely hazardous, such as certain asbestiform minerals, because of their ability to lodge in lung tissue and promote disease such as mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.”
That’s why dust control is so important — but it can be a double-edged sword. Despite the positive health benefits of conventional dust control methods, they can negatively impact the environment.
Dust Control: At What Cost?
In a recent article, the Drayton Valley Western Review wrote about Alabama farmer Don Herman, who has made the claim that local dust control methods are killing his row of trees that line a county road. Herman explains that the dust control product travels, “off the road and down into the ditches,” and has “totally killed” his trees and grass.
So what is it that companies are using for dust control that would kill the surrounding plant life?
Many dust control products contain harmful chemicals that, while effective, have troubling environmental side effects. In Herman’s case, two horticulturists were called in to examine the damage. They claim that calcium and magnesium are what killed Herman’s trees — common dust control chemicals.
Interestingly, magnesium is an essential nutrient for plants to grow. However, as B.A. Goodrich and W.R. Jacobi write for the Colorado State University Extension, “Too much of [the] nutrient may harm a plant.” And that when it’s highly concentrated, “The soil may be toxic or change water relationships such that the plant cannot easily accumulate water and nutrients.” The leaves become brittle and wither, and eventually the entire tree will die.
A Safer Method
How do we solve dust problems without harming the environment? Fortunately, for both humans and trees, there are alternative types of control methods that are environmentally safe. As Goodrich and Jacobi suggest, “To avoid chloride toxicity in roadside trees, use non-chloride based products to treat for dust suppression and deicing purposes.”
It’s important for local government and corporations to look for dust control suppliers who use environmentally safe products. For example, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. provides multiple types of dust control systems and products that are both environmentally sound and effective.
EnviroKleen® and EK35® are two of Midwest’s dust control solutions that are EPA-verified safe for people and the environment. They are non-toxic, biodegradable, and do not evaporate or leach out of the surface. Both products provide longer-lasting performance and require fewer applications than other dust control and surface stabilization methods.
Midwest is a great solution to dust problems of all types. Their products eliminate dust and reduce the need for watering, without harming the environment in the process.
(Image credit: Nikos Patsiouris/flickr)