Another Ron DeSantis Florida story…..
Roads in Florida could soon include phosphogypsum — a radioactive waste material from the fertilizer industry — under a bill lawmakers have sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Conservation groups are urging DeSantis to veto the bill, saying phosphogypsum would hurt water quality and put road construction crews at a higher risk of cancer.
Here’s what to know about the law and about phosphogypsum….
“Phosphogypsum contains appreciable quantities of uranium and its decay products, such as radium-226,” according to the EPA. And because the fertilizer production process concentrates waste material, “phosphogypsum is more radioactive than the original phosphate rock,” the agency notes.
“The radium is of particular concern because it decays to form radon, a cancer-causing, radioactive gas,” the EPA adds.
Last November, researchers in China who reviewed numerous existing studies on recycling phosphogypsum said they were optimistic about its potential use in road construction materials. But they concluded that more studies are needed, noting that “few studies have focused on its durability or analyzed its long-term effects on soil and water resources.”
Critics of the new legislation are urging DeSantis to use his veto power.
“Using radioactive phosphogypsum in roads is not a solution to the fertilizer industry’s toxic waste problem,” the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 30 other groups said in a letter to the governor. “Florida should not be a test subject in the industry’s reckless experiment.”
The groups say the fertilizer industry has already shown it can’t adequately manage more than 1 billion tons of waste currently stored in Florida….
The EPA states that “phosphogypsum remains prohibited from use in road construction,” as it has been almost continuously for more than 30 years.
Under former President Donald Trump, the EPA briefly rescinded that policy starting in October 2020. But it reinstated the rule in June 2021….
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