Florida roads could become radioactive
Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Florida, led by Ron Desantis, are faced with a difficult choice. They are one step away from passing a law allowing the use of spent radioactive material in the construction of new roads. At issue is phosphogypsum, which is a mining byproduct in the production of fertilizer. This legislative adventure can endanger people’s lives.
The fact is that phosphogypsum is recognized by the American National Environmental Protection Agency as a radioactive substance. It contains small amounts of radium and uranium. In the past, the use of phosphogypsum in construction projects in the United States has been limited. Regulations required that it be stored separately from other materials – so it would not endanger human health. The fact is that uranium and radium decompose over time, releasing radon gas. This gas provokes the emergence of cancer.
The law, the adoption of which may legalize phosphogypsum as a material for road construction, has a good purpose – it encourages the practical use of waste. But environmental experts have already sounded the alarm – they believe the law could make roads dangerous, and road construction companies’ employees would be the first to be hit. The population and drivers will also be at increased risk of cancer. This topic has been hotly debated in local communities and in the media, but so far the fate of the bill is unclear.
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