City testing new de-icer formulas with lower carcinogen levels - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

City testing new de-icer formulas with lower carcinogen levels

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The current de-icer in use is made of magnesium chloride, a salt byproduct. The current de-icer in use is made of magnesium chloride, a salt byproduct.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Have you ever thought about what’s in the de-icer solution on our streets? The City of Spokane’s solution contains PCBs, a known carcinogen, and they’re not the only ones who use this solution.

But, Mark Serbousek, Spokane’s street department director, says people shouldn’t worry.

“These are small quantities that we are dealing with,” he says. “By the time it gets on there it dilutes out so fast that again if you're looking at a street it's such a small body compared to what we're dealing with.”

The current de-icer they use is made of magnesium chloride, a salt byproduct. The city says they need to change the deicer they use now because the city changed its PCB standards. Those standards are now more rigorous than federal ones.

“We're looking at other products now at this time to see what is out there what's available,” Serbousek says. “See if we can minimize the PCBs we're dealing with because we're out here trying to create the safest environment for our public.”

They're testing a salt brine de-icer and a calcium chloride de-icer on hills against their current de-icer. But, PCBs are everywhere and detectable in these too. The two have them at a lower level that would match the new city rules.

At the end of the season, they'll look over the information from the tests, balance costs and effectiveness, and see how they'll change their methods.

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