It’s Time to Take Control of Dust From Gravel Roads

In Dust Control, EnviroKleen®, Gravel Roads by Jim Silva

As VOCM (a Canadian AM radio station) reports, the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador closed down its program to use calcium chloride on gravel roads as a means of dealing with dust.

The people of the province gave a heartfelt response, demanding that the government reinstate the operation, especially because of the health risks that are associated with the dust produced by gravel roads.

Specifically, residents complained of health complications from dust, such as asthma. The government’s decision seems to be a reassuring one at a time when dust continues to be a significant problem for many people across Canada.

What Are They Complaining About?

The World Bank, in their 2011 report, ‘Quantifying the Impact of Vehicle-Generated Dust’, detailed the environmental and health risks that are associated with gravel roads.

One of the most damaging effects of road dust is its effect on people’s respiratory health, especially that of young children. As the report detailed, the dust from gravel roads is often fine enough to pass into the lungs and cause serious irritation or damage. This also has a particularly detrimental effect on people with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

The effects are financial too: the report detailed how crops and livestock are damaged by such dust, lowering
the agricultural yields and profits of the nation’s farmers. This is to say nothing for the all-important welfare of
farm animals.

Dust also causes an increased level of danger on roads because of its propensity to obscure vision. The plumes of dust that are thrown up by a moving vehicle will block or partially interfere with the view of other motorists, causing increased motoring accidents.

What’s the Solution?

While it may be clear that everyone would benefit a great deal from waving goodbye to the dust produced by these roads, it’s not likely that they will be laying down asphalt on every mile of road anytime soon. The government systems of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as private organizations and individuals will need to come up with solutions to the problem of gravel roads on a case-by-case basis.

Different areas and communities will have varying preferences and solutions for their own particular situation. Fortunately, today’s market has a number of highly-technical solutions for every aspect of this problem.


While there are many products available to solve gravel dust problems, few are environmentally safe. Fortunately, there are solutions–products like Midwest’s EnviroKleen®,a synthetic organic fluid formulated with a polymeric binder system that agglomerates fine particles making them larger so they cannot become airborne.

EnviroKleen is long lasting and its surface is not destroyed by heavy vehicle traffic. EnviroKleen meets Quebec MOE scoring requirements for dust control agent under BNQ 2410-300/2009 environmental testing via third party lab.

Heavy Industry

Many gravel and dirt roads service important industrial areas and plants, meaning that trucks traveling on these roads will, because of their weight, throw up a great deal of dust while operating.

Fortunately, Midwest’s EK35® will control dust while providing a tough surface that is totally suitable for heavy industrial trucks. It is a resin binder system that captures fines and keeps them locked into the surface, preventing fugitive dust from escaping.


If a community is located near a problematic gravel road, then the main priority may be the product’s ability to deal with the dusts that are most harmful to human health. Soil-Sement® is non-toxic polymer emulsion that is environmentally safe, non-corrosive, non-flammable and does not pollute ground water.

EnviroKleen, EK35 and Soil-Sement are EPA-verified effective for reducing PM10 and PM2.5, which are very damaging to human health. Their effectiveness is certified by environmental regulation programs like Canada ETV, US EPA ETV and many others.

It could be said that with modern technology and knowledge of such environmentally safe solutions, the problem of gravel road dust shouldn’t exist for much longer. The Newfoundland and Labrador government learned that the people need a guarantee that their health, safety and environment is safe. With today’s multitude of products available to do the job, the time to take action is definitely now.

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.