Alternatives to Chlorides for Effective Dust Control

In Dust Control, Environment, Road Pro® by Cheryl Detloff

Chlorides are commonly used to eliminate dust, but there are more efficient and environmentally friendly choices available.

Chlorides are among the more popular dust suppressants on the market. Cheap and easy to use, they’re a quick and convenient solution to most dust control problems. They aren’t the most durable products, however, and their environmental impact can cause some serious operational issues.

While the use of chlorides can serve to effectively manage dust under some circumstances, their drawbacks should give you some pause as you consider purchasing a dust control program. Let’s walk through their strengths and weaknesses to help you make the right decision in terms of long-term effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

What Are Chlorides?

A chloride is a salt-based inorganic compound used to trap dust particles. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the most commonly leveraged compounds for the purposes of dust control, providing a similar level of effectiveness.

Because major deposits of it can be found across the state of Michigan, calcium chloride is more widely used east of the Mississippi River. On the flip side, because the Great Salt Lake in Utah contains a high concentration of magnesium chloride, that compound is far more commonly utilized in the Western United States. While there are some slight differences between the two — mostly in their respective abilities to absorb moisture — they’re equally effective in most scenarios.

Advantages of Chlorides

The primary advantage of chlorides over other products lies in their cost. One ton of calcium chloride can cost as little as $140, while one ton of magnesium chloride can cost as little as $111. Since they’re also easy to apply, chlorides represent a quick and cost-effective solution to immediate dust control needs, such as treating a parking lot before a big concert.

Chlorides can also offer an effective long-term solution for less frequently used surfaces. While they can’t stand moderate usage for much longer than a few weeks, they will last quite a bit longer on a less trafficked surface such as a tree-lined country road, especially in climates with low humidity and little precipitation.

Disadvantages of Chlorides

While chlorides provide effective short-term relief from most dust control problems, they’re a far less efficient option for a long-term program, since they aren’t designed to remain effective for much longer than a few weeks if you allow for even moderate usage. Quickly washed away with water, surfaces treated with chloride can’t withstand the stress of heavy industrial equipment, a variety of weather events like rain and wind, or the frequent watering many sites utilize to maintain haul and access roads. The result is an immediate need for frequent reapplications, sucking up more budget and resources in the process.

Chlorides are also far from the most environmentally-friendly product on the market. As they’re highly corrosive to metal surfaces, they can contaminate sources of water and harm vegetation, as well as put humans and wildlife at risk. Without significant safeguards against such issues, the resultant difficulties wipe away any short-term cost savings.


So if chlorides aren’t the answer, where can heavy industry operators, village townships, and everyone in between turn to for lasting solutions to their fugitive dust issues? They all should look no further than the patented technology and managed application programs offered by Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.

Over the past 40 years and counting, we’ve helped companies and townships alike develop highly effective, environmentally-friendly dust control programs — and not once have we resorted to using chlorides for a short-term fix.

Our suite of patented dust control products includes glycerin-based dust suppressants like NewtrolTM. and polymer-modified asphalt emulsions like Road Pro® NT, both of which meet the world’s highest regulatory standards — Newtrol is approved and certified with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, while Road Pro NT ensures compliance with Clean Air Act requirements regarding PM10 emissions. This pair of products provides a level of strength and durability that chlorides simply can’t compete with.

While these products are proven to dramatically outperform other methods both in terms of cost and man-hours dedicated to maintenance as part of customer-applied programs, Midwest offers turnkey managed application programs to both industrial operators and counties and townships that establish clearly-defined efficiency goals at the outset and then subsequently reach them.

In short, we have the range of experience needed to provide and implement a tailored solution to your dust control challenges. That’s right — no more short-term fixes and long-term headaches. Instead, invest in the expertise of a trusted partner like Midwest.