Issues in focus
The Salt Institute is dedicated to helping consumers enjoy the myriad benefits of salt while balancing those benefits against potential harm to health and the environment. Our advocacy for salt is science-based and consumer-centered. Typical of our advocacy approach has been our development and promotion of “Sensible Salting” for roadways. In North America, use of salt to clear snow and ice from roadways to make them safe and passable began in the 1940s. By the 1960s, enthusiastic but ill-informed use of salt on roads had created water contamination of many roadside wells and damaged or destroyed noticeable amounts of vegetation in roadway rights-of-way and along urban arterial streets. The Institute recognized the problem and created a pro-active program to train its customers, primarily state/provincial and local transportation agencies, on techniques to store salt in a way to prevent it from leaching into groundwater and to apply it in the minimum amounts necessary to complement plowing to restore safe driving conditions. The program won a public service award in 1972.
Of course, the Institute has not rested on its laurels, but rather applied the same strategy as other issues arise: identifying the public concern and pro-actively working with concerned parties to develop industry practices, customer salt use guidelines or government regulatory controls to protect our workers from harmful occupational exposures, guard against environmental discharges or environmentally unsound practices at our production plants, encourage economical all-weather roadway operations, increase the salt efficiency of ion-exchange water softeners, expand the use of iodized salt as the most economical measure to combat mental retardation and provide consumer guidance on dietary salt intake levels to ensure optimal health. The list could go on.
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