gallery The Link between Lead in Water & Road Salt

Typical road salt is laced with problems and causes spikes in heavy metals in our drinking water!   By contaminating rivers, lakes, and streams road salt causes our drinking water to be unsafe. Instead use harmless substances to de-ice sidewalks and roads such as Ecotraction, a volcanic ash natural de-icer that’s harmless to people and pets.


While it may seem harmless it is not.  As with most substances littering sidewalks, lawns, fields or roads, road salt runs off into streams and waterways causing massive contamination. Most road salt is comprised of Sodium and Chloride and as it runs off into streams, rivers and lakes, it accumulates. This concentration of chloride is ruining ecosystems and killing wildlife. It’s also harming us and making drinking water very toxic.

Everyone by now has heard about the increased levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water, but did you know it’s related to road salt? The Flint River has been severely polluted for years from industrial and automotive manufacturing.  Also over the years concentrations of road salt run-off have been increasing in the river, this is the water eventually drawn for tap water. The road salt has made the water extremely corrosive. When corrosive water is drawn through water pipes, it causes the metal in water pipes to leach into the water. The aging lead pipes throughout most of the homes in Flint were no match for the Flint River water.

Canada declared road salt a toxin in 2004 and restricted its use. Back in the United States meanwhile, about 140 pounds of salt per person are distributed onto snowy roads each year! In some states like Minnesota that gets more snow and ice, that amount rises to over 200 pounds of salt per person per year! The time has come for the U.S. to implement better methods that eliminate ice without destroying the planet.


  • Use Ecotraction to de-ice your sidewalks and driveways. It’s beneficial for soil and gardens while harmless to people, pets, and waterways.

Being from Chicago, I love that the Chicago Park District uses Ecotraction!

“We’ve had the pleasure of using EcoTraction each winter since 2009. It allows us to achieve safety without damage to concrete and other infrastructure, thereby saving money. We particularly value that it actually benefits lawns and gardens.”

                                                                                             -Chicago Park District

  • If you suspect your water is contaminated please find a source of clean water. You may have to purchase bottled water or have water delivered until your tap water is ok.  Do not drink dirty contaminated tap water. Do not cook with it or make coffee, tea or soup with it, or give it to your pets.
  • If your town’s drinking water source is contaminated with road salt, you can install a tap water filter. However, depending on the age of the pipes in your home, it may be advantageous to have your existing water pipes replaced with copper.


Learn more about the hazards of Road Salt rom the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services:

New Hampshire winters demand an effective and affordable means of de-icing roadways. The primary agent used for this purpose is sodium chloride (road salt), which is composed of 40 percent sodium ions (Na+) and 60 percent chloride ions (Cl-). Other components in salt like ferrocyanide, which is used for anti-caking, and impurities like phosphorus and iron, can represent up to 5 percent of the total weight. The sodium, chloride, ferrocyanide and impurities make their way into our environment through the runoff from rain, melting snow and ice, as well as through splash and spray by vehicles and by wind. They find their way onto vegetation and into the soil, groundwater, stormdrains, and surface waters causing significant impact to the environment.

Chloride (Cl-) is completely soluble and very mobile. Chloride is toxic to aquatic life and impacts vegetation and wildlife. There is no natural process by which chlorides are broken down, metabolized, taken up, or removed from the environment. In 2008, New Hampshire listed 19 water bodies impaired by chloride; in 2010 that number increased to 40. Trends show that chloride levels continue to rise with increasing use of road salt….

For more read this article from the Smithsonian, What Happens to all the salt we dump on the roads?


Learn more about Ecotraction:


Stay safe and healthy in 2018.