EPA Approves the Use of Radioactive Material, Once Banned, In Road Construction

The Environmental Protection Agency, using the abbreviation EPA, has now approved the use a toxic compound on road construction projects. The substance that’s now been approved for use in government road construction drafts has been regulated until now because it is radioactive.​

Phosphogypsum, a waste product that is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer, will now be allowed to be used in all government road construction, the EPA has announced on Wednesday in a statement.

The toxic material is, at the moment, stored in large and ‘safe’ stacks that are located across 13 states, but mainly in the Southeast. This is also the region of the country where most of the phosphogypsum​ roads would be constructed, as the group that requested the approval from the EPA argued that it could not be economical to transport it farther than 200 miles from the stacks, the agency stated in their announcement.

Banned For Being Radioactive

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement that giving the green light for the material to be reused allegedly ‘reduces environmental waste and protects public health.’

“The approval of this request means that phosphogypsum… can now be put to productive use rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,” he said.

Environmentalists highly disagree, saying and bringing evidence that using the radioactive material in this manner can pose serious health risks.

“You now have the potential exposure to something that we, in all other scenarios, treat as radioactive hazardous waste,” said Jacki Lopez, The Center for Biological Diversity‘s Florida director and senior attorney.

Back in 1992, the EPA completely banned the use of phosphogypsum​ in road construction, expressing concerns about people possibly living in a house on the land where phosphogypsum​ roads once existed.

In a dramatic turn of events, the agency now approved the toxic material, claiming that it came at the request of The Fertilizer Institute, which advocates for the fertilizer industry.

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