Calcium Chloride Alternatives

Alternatives to rock salts such as calcium chloride are more costly in some cases.
••• Wet Roadway image by phipix from

Calcium chloride is a rock salt substance that is mainly used to soak up and control ice and dust particulates on roadways. It has been an inexpensive and effective choice for many years. However, according to Environment Canada’s website, studies indicate road salts such as calcium chloride can cause ecological problems for plants and animals due to runoff issues in waterways and soils. Therefore, it is worthwhile to take a look at other alternatives to calcium chloride road salt.

Organic Oils

Organic oils such as vegetable oils, pine tar and molasses are an option because these substances stick to dust and dirt particles and keep them from escaping into the air. However, there are some drawbacks. For example, reapplication is frequently necessary, and these oils cause slippery roadways during rainy and icy conditions. In addition, they often emit unfavorable odors and can make areas look unclean after application.

Positive Ionic Attraction

Electrochemical alternatives draw and stick to dust particles that have positive ionic charges. This option also helps to force water out of soils and encourages packed-in, and less fly-away, dirt particles as a result. However, plants do not grow well in areas where some of these products have been applied.

Enzyme Mixtures

Liquid mixtures comprised of enzymes are another alternative to rock salts. These mixtures prevent dust particles from getting into the surrounding air by encouraging dirt and dust compression.

Magnesium Chloride

Although it’s a member of the rock salt family, magnesium chloride is a more resilient and environmentally-friendly option. It is as effective as calcium chloride, but not as inexpensive. However, it has less harmful effects on nearby plant life and vehicles.

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