By B.N. Frank
More from a ManaSota-88 newsletter:
ManaSota-88, Inc. a 501.c3 Public Health and Environmental Organization
Hazardous Waste Being Mixed into Roads
If you live next to a road, will you be living next to a hazardous waste site? Unfortunately, this may be a reality for many, especially in Florida.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced they will approve the use of phosphogypsum in road construction. Phosphogypsum is the radioactive waste product left over from the production of fertilizer, and Florida has a lot of phosphogypsum.
ManaSota-88 is vigorously opposed to the use of phosphogypsum in roadbeds. High radionuclide levels, increased health risks, increased groundwater contamination and lack of state regulatory oversight are some of the many reasons why phosphogypsum should not be used in road construction.
EPA and other studies have determined that the use of radioactive phosphate gypsum wastes as building materials is unsafe and should not be done. This decision reflects the EPA’s past concern that the radium bearing waste, if spread throughout the country, would present a public health threat that would continue for generations, given radium’s 1,630-year radioactive decay half-life. However, the current administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, supports the phosphate industries attempt dispose of their waste by mixing it with concrete used for road construction.
The distribution of phosphogypsum will unnecessarily expose workers, the environment, and the general public to otherwise avoidable radiation exposure.
To allow the use of phosphogypsum as a construction material is the height of irresponsibility. Allowing phosphogypsum to be used for road construction will open the regulatory door for the use of phosphogypsum in construction or agricultural applications. The radioactive decay of this material will emit particles that can cause increased cancer risks and unacceptable radiation levels in areas normally not having such problems.
To date, there have been no published scientific studies confirming that there is a “safe” industrial process to convert phosphogypsum for uses such as roads.