Winter road salt can harm wildlife

An increase in road salt use over the past few decades can harm wildlife, such as the yellow spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). ©breki74

Spreading salt on the roads to make winter driving safer may be causing problems for wildlife. In a recent article, scientists reported a large increase of chloride in streams, lakes and rivers over previous decades. A main reason for this increase in chloride is likely from salt applied before and during snowstorms, the authors said, which can impact freshwater organisms and change the ecosystem. For some species, salt can case dehydration. About 4,500 metric tons of salt was used in the 1940s, they found, but today, about 22 million metric tons are used. Some scientists suggest these threats may call for road salt regulation.

Read more in Chemical & Engineering News.