CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A state report shows Northeast Ohio uses a radioactive substance to melt the ice on the roadways, but is it safe?
Cleveland 19 discovered the solution is already being used to de-ice roads.
A bill on the table in Columbus would allow hardware stores to sell it to residents who want to use it on driveways, and parking lots too.
An environmental group worries that could make people sick.
Dave Mansbery said the material comes from oil and gas wells. He filters it and then sells it to cities that want to use it as a deicing agent.
It’s called AquaSalina.
But, the Ohio Environmental Council is skeptical.
It said a report released by the Division of Oil and Gas Resources show AquaSalina could be harmful.
Over FaceTime, Trish Demeter told us she’s helping in the push for more testing and higher protocols.
“We fear that there are real loopholes in the regulation of this material,” she said.
ODOT said the solution is effective at melting snow and ice in really cold temperatures.
“Our concern is that we would unnecessarily be exposing people to higher levels of contamination in this particular material,” said Demeter.
Right now, ODOT says some of its trucks do spread AquaSalina.
It’s up to the county managers how often it gets put down, but a spokesperson said, typically, it’s only used when temperatures are extremely cold.
According to the report, by doing that, it is unlikely that radiation exposure to Ohioans would exceed the recommended public dose limit.
Mansbery set up a display to compare the radioactivity in his solution to items many of us come into contact with daily, like potatoes, red meat and vegetables.
“When you put it in context to Lima beans and carrots, it’s less radioactive than that, it’s not a concern,” he said.
And, if that doesn’t show Mansbery’s confidence in his product, he went a step further.
“It is not meant for human consumption but it is not a problem,” he said, sticking his finger into the solution, and placing a drop on his tongue.
Cleveland 19 told Demeter he did that.
She said, “That’s his prerogative, but the question is public health and safety-- the greater public at large.”
The environmental council says there are different types of radioactivity.
Several items put off radiation, but in some cases it can cause liver disease or cancer, a scary prospect indeed.