“Toxic and even radioactive elements have been found in de-icing substances used for clearing Moscow streets from snow, according to data gathered by a group of activists. City authorities deny the allegations.
De-icing chemicals have never enjoyed public affection in Russia. They are mostly associated with damaged footwear and burned pet paws. However, annoyance turned to anger after community group ‘For Safety on Russian Roads’ announced the results of its recent investigation.
“I can, of course, emotionally say that yes, we are being poisoned by radiation and scattered with something horrible. But if we put emotions aside, we have now gathered samples of chemicals from sidewalks and found out that substances prohibited years ago are being used once again. These include Radionuclides,” says Roman Kornilov of For Safety on Russian Roads, as cited by Kommersant daily.
The group specifies that Moscow roads are being de-iced with yellow halite and a substance known by the abbreviation SBG. Yellow halite is described as “exceptionally harmful for people and nature.” SBG is an electrolyte slime of Solikamsk Magnesium Works, i.e. industrial waste which contains toxic elements. These include K-40 (kalium-40), which takes 1.3 billion years to disintegrate and belongs to materials of third-class radioactive danger. It was prohibited for use in Moscow in 2006.