Florida Wants to Pave Their Roads with Radioactive Waste

HB 1191 would compel the Florida Transportation Department to study using phosphogypsum in paving projects, calling for “demonstration projects using phosphogypsum in road construction aggregate material to determine its feasibility as a paving material.”

Phosphogypsum — a radioactive waste material from the fertilizer industry is the potential product of choice for paving the roads in Florida. Lawmakers have sent DeSantalini the bill, which conservation groups have urged the governor to veto, saying phosphogypsum would hurt water quality and put road construction crews at a higher risk of cancer.

What is phosphogypsum and why is there so much of it?

In fertilizer, phosphorus is particularly important for plants to have strong roots and for crops to be productive. Florida has been an important source since the 1800s; today, the EPA notes, “Florida alone accounts for approximately 80 percent of the current capacity, making it the world’s largest phosphate producing area.”

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