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Road salt shown to be changing the composition of some species

A PhD Candidate from Queen's University says chloride road salt continues to damage the environment, and could soon effect what we eat.
20181121 salt icy stairs KC
Salt or sand potentially slippery surfaces today as temperatures expected to turn condensation icy, Environment Canada warns.

Road salt isn't an uncommon product to be thrown around, especially during hard hitting winter days, but it's the amount and what's in the salt that has dire consequences to our ecosystems.

The tiny rock that gets tossed onto the highways and roads to melt through the ice is made of a sodium chloride, which then begins to dissolve and turn into water.

"The sodium is mostly bound by soil, but all of our chloride almost always makes it into our waterways," said Robin Valleau, PhD Candidate from Queens University.

Once it makes into our waterway that's when it has the potential to change species compositions.

"We are seeing a shift from one species to another species because of this increase in salt," Valleau told 1310 NEWS. "If we get that shift, that can affect food availability for bigger species like fish."

She added, fish have a high tolerance to chloride but it's what the fish eat, like plankton, that see the biggest change.

Around 7-million tons of salt is applied every year on Canadian roads, and Valleau would like to see that switched to alternative products like sand or beet juice.

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