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Bills would allow dangerous de-icers

DEAR EDITOR:

Ohio Senate Bill 171 / House Bill 282 is legislation to legalize using radioactive waste deceptively called “brine” on our roads as a de-icer, manufactured and distributed as a salt water product. The brine is extracted from radioactive frack waste of hydro-fractured natural gas wells.

Not listed within the ingredients is Radium 226 and Radium 228, unacknowledged chemical components that make it lethal. These products have no warning labels. Many studies decry the dangers of using radioactive waste on our roads and expose the harms to health and environment.

Some years ago a home improvement retailer sold the product, unaware of radioactivity. After it was measured with a Geiger counter, it immediately was pulled from the shelves. In 2017, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources tested a saltwater product and found it had 333 times the allowable amount of radioactivity, high enough that the waste needed to be disposed in a Class 2 injection well. The radioactive waste was not being properly disposed, and it was being marketed as a commodity sold as a de-icing agent for sidewalks, driveways and Ohio roads.

Radium 226 is a radioactive isotope of radium that has a half- life of 1,600 years. It readily dissolves in water. If ingested, the body mistakes R-226 for calcium and absorbs it into its bones. It is a known carcinogen. Radium 228 has a half life of 5.8 years and has been known to increase the risk of certain cancers.

Some salt-water products already have been used as de-icing products. We’ve tracked it into our homes. Our children and pets absorbed it. It remains on the ground, flows into the sewer system, is reabsorbed into our water supply and haunts us for generations.

Who benefits from using radioactive waste as a de-icer? Not the people exposed to the radioactive waste on roads and sidewalks.

The manufacturer is the one who profits from it. Other gas and oil companies must deposit their waste in Class 2 injection wells. How do certain companies get a pass to bottle their waste and sell it to the public as a safe commodity? Is this a precedent gas and oil drillers wish to create to avoid the cost of proper waste disposal?

What Ohio lawmaker would sponsor such a bill and to what purpose? Who would risk the health of their constituency to further their own agenda? How can we stop them from furthering an agenda that endangers our health? Let your voice be heard. Vote them out.

DIANA SHAHEEN

Youngstow

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