Stop Using So Much Salt on Sidewalks

(*)(**)(***)(****)Winter is in full effect, and with it, the problem of salt lining our every sidewalk and street, unless of course, you live in a state where seasonal differences are virtually absent (I’m jealous).(*****)(******)(*******)(****)While salt helps us avoid pile-ups by melting snow, salt regularly contaminates our water sources, damages our environment, and affects our own health. How does simple salt on a sidewalk manage to make its way into our bodies?(*******)(********)(**)(*********)(**********)(***********)(************)(*************)(**************)(***************)(****************)(*****************)(******************)(*******************)(******************)(********************)(*********************)(**********************)(***********************)(************************)(*********************)(***)(*)(*************************)How to Protect Your Dog’s Paws From Rock Salt(**************************)(****)Since the recent snow bomb hit the East Coast, I’ve been forced to outfit my tiny terrier with both …(*******)Read more (***************************)Read(****************************)(*****************************)(******************************)(****)First, there’s a difference between the salt you’d typically see on roads and the ones you see on sidewalks and street corners, though they can be used interchangeably. On roads, rock salt is generally used. It’s cheap and the same composition as table salt, like the kind you use on your dinner. It helps provide traction on roadways but is considered more harmful to plant and animal life (including dogs!). (*******)(****)Ice melt, however, is the common pellet-like salt you see on sidewalks. It’s considered friendlier to pets (still harmful, though) and works in temperatures below 5 degrees, unlike rock salt, so it can better withstand the winter’s worst. It’s also considered less corrosive than rock salt, so it’s more frequently used near and around homes. (*******)(*******************************)(**)(*********)(**********)(***********)(********************************)(*************)(**************)(***************)(****************)(*****************)(******************)(*******************)(******************)(********************)(*********************)(**********************)(***********************)(************************)(*********************)(***)(*)(*************************)Stop Recycling Amazon's Plastic Packaging(**************************)(****)Recycling can be a little complicated as it is—it’s never as easy as throwing plastic in a plastics …(*******)Read more (***************************)Read(****************************)(*****************************)(******************************)(****)But they’re all forms of salt, and when they seep into pavements or streets or are carried away by runoff, they make their way into our groundwater or rivers, where a number of U.S. communities obtain their drinking water. A recent study found that (************************************************************)% of U.S. drainage areas, or areas where rain and snowmelt meet streams and rivers, are becoming saltier. And in Northeast regions, road salt is mostly to blame. (*******)(****)What’s the worst that could happen? Well, when you drink saltier water, it has the potential to spike your blood pressure. And for the millions of Americans that already suffer from high blood pressure issues, it presents a hell of a problem. (*******)(****)A (*****************************************) study found that (***********************************************************)% wells tested in Duchess County, New York exceeded the EPA’s limit on sodium in water, and (*****************************************************************)% of wells had enough salt to compromise the health of residents there with high blood pressure. (*******)(**)(***)(****)Salt also threatens aquatic life and entire bodies of water, which become depleted of oxygen with too much salt. Worse, the salt doesn’t exactly (*********************************)go away(**********************************), and instead, accumulates in bodies of water. There isn’t a cost-effective method of removing it, either (it dissolves into water so it’s no longer visible, adding to the problem).(*****)(******)(*******)(****)So what can you do to help?(*******)(****)For one, if you’re going to use any salt at all, don’t go overboard with it. Spread it across a surface evenly, instead of in mounds, so you’ll need less (it’s also more effective that way). Shoveling more often will also help curb your need for salt. And sweep up any spare salt after a storm so that it won’t make its way into your drinking water again.(*****)(******)(*******)(***********************************)(************************************)(****)(*********************************)(*************************************)For more from Lifehacker, be sure to follow us on Instagram @lifehackerdotcom.(*****)(******)(**************************************)(**********************************)(*******)(*****************************)

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