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Magnesium and calcium chloride are commonly used as a dust suppressant agent on unpaved roads in the western parts of the United States during the spring and summer. Likewise, chlorides are used extensively for deicing/anti-icing on paved roads during the winter.

Chlorides are often used as a dust control agent since they are hygroscopic and deliquescent — the ability to absorb moisture from the humid air. This absorbed moisture helps limit dust by keeping the surface of the road damp enough to hold the dust particles down and reduces blow-off as fugitive dust.

Although chlorides are considered to be less expensive than other dust control agents, the potential negative impact of using salt may outweigh any positive aspects. There are numerous reasons why using chloride is less than desirable for dust control on unpaved roads. These include:

• The unpaved road may become slippery when wet if clays are present
• The unpaved road can become a sloppy mess during spring thaw
• The magnesium chloride washes off readily with rain/snow melt
• Repetitive applications may be required to control dust
• Potential to leach chloride into shallow drinking water wells
• Doesn’t work well in low humid conditions
• Chlorides are very corrosive
• Attracts wildlife to roads for the salt and create driving hazards
• Recognized to be harmful to important roadside vegetation

So, what can be done to minimize these undesirable impacts when controlling dust on your unpaved road? A good practice is to use an environmentally-friendly dust control product that can efficiently and effectively bind soils and aggregates together and that does not wash off with rainwater. With this in mind, Earthbind® 100 is an exceptionally good choice. Earthbind® not only controls fugitive dust, it also helps mitigate stream sedimentation during the rainy season.

Here at Blue Line Transportation Company, we want to give you the best services, so give our Portland, Oregon, office a call at 503-279-2600 to speak with one of our service representatives today!