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Stop dumping toxic waste on roadways

DEAR EDITOR:

Every snowfall can you hear it? That eerie sound is the sound of radioactive oil and gas waste fluids being sprayed on our roads.

Currently it is legal to spray recycled oil and gas brine and its byproducts on our roadways as a de-icer and dust suppressant, as well as to use some commercial products sold at hardware stores to spread on sidewalks. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ testing has shown extremely troubling Radium 226 and other radio nuclides in brines that are spread on Ohio roadways. Radium 226 has a half-life of 1,600 years. The 151 samples tested by ODNR showed levels of Radium 226 and 228 up to 80 times higher than the Ohio Administrative Code’s legal limit for discharge into the environment and up to 1,900 times the U.S. EPA’s drinking water standard for combined Radium 226 and 228. Repeated applications of brine and its by products can increase the concentration of these toxins.

Radium 226 is especially toxic because it is water-soluble and bone-seeking. Think cancer. Now think about the radioactive dust that accumulates on the roads, your car, driveways, sidewalks and in our soil, and tracking it into your home. Think about it accumulating in our ditches and waterways that lead to our drinking water sources. Think about the dust traveling onto our crops and gardens in the summertime.

Why is this being allowed? Our state legislature allowed this to happen. It’s been legal since 2000. In Ohio it’s being used on state and federal highways, parks, cities and townships, as well as private roadways. It’s time to ban the use of toxic oil and gas waste brine from our roadways. We must also ban any attempts to commodify these materials for industrial or residential uses.

To learn more, Google “America’s Radioactive Secret” in the February issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Author Justin Nobel has uncovered documents from the American Petroleum Institute and others that reveal the oil and gas industry has known about this risk for decades. Ohio is mentioned often in his report.

It’s time for Ohio to stop dumping radioactive, toxic waste on its citizens.

LORI BABBEY

Newton Falls

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