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Is the Use of Road Salt and Chemical Deicers Worth the Costs? A Call for Environmentally Sustainable Winter Road Operations

Author(s): David M. Parker, Tatiana C. Tatum

Citation: David M. Parker, Tatiana C. Tatum, (2021) "Is the Use of Road Salt and Chemical Deicers Worth the Costs? A Call for Environmentally Sustainable Winter Road Operations," Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, Vol. 16, Iss. 1, pp. 139-144

Article Type: Research paper

Publisher: North American Business Press


The use of road salt and chemical deicers to control the accumulation of snow and ice on paved transportation surfaces has increased significantly over the decades. Estimates indicate that, each year, 60 million metric tons of salt alone is used globally for deicing. Deicing roadways and parking areas does provide an important service. It helps keep roads and parking areas navigable during snow and ice storms, reduces accidents and injuries and mitigates potentially significant economic losses to local, state, and regional economies due to closed roadways. But benefits do not come without fiscal and environmental costs. Extensive reliance on salts and harmful chemicals calls for the development and wide-spread use of environmentally sustainable and economically feasible alternatives.