Top 6 Reasons Dust Control is Valuable

Dust Control Truck spraying calcium chloride

The dust generated by vehicular traffic on unpaved roads poses not only an unpleasant nuisance but also impacts the overall quality of life for road users and those residing or working in proximity. Beyond being a mere annoyance, dust serves as an indicator of potential road damage, carrying implications for both financial costs and health and safety concerns. It poses a threat to the well-being of your family, the safety of driving, the maintenance of vehicles and other property, and the ecological balance of the surrounding environment.

Liquid and solid calcium chloride products offer an effective solution for dust suppression, seamlessly integrated into routine seasonal road maintenance programs. Moreover, these versatile products extend their functionality to encompass dust control applications in road base stabilization and full-depth reclamation, proving invaluable for road construction or reconstruction projects.

Why is Dust Control a Valuable Service?

In numerous communities, the significance of unpaved roads within the transportation infrastructure cannot be overstated. With nearly 2 million miles of unpaved roads in the U.S. and approximately 365,000 miles in Canada, these roads offer a cost-effective means of connecting people to work, schools, essential services, and key facilities. Unpaved roads serve as crucial links, connecting agricultural areas, forests, mines, wells, and manufacturing centers to the markets they serve.

Efficient dust control is paramount for maintaining the drivability and safety of unpaved roads. It serves as a vital strategy for road authorities to curtail annual maintenance costs, prolong the life of aggregates, and reduce overall expenditures. Calcium chloride boasts a century-long track record of delivering proven dust control performance, significantly enhancing the lives of individuals residing on or traveling North America’s unpaved roads. Explore the benefits of implementing an effective dust control program for you and your community:

  1. Enhanced Road Quality
  2. Reduced Road Maintenance Costs
  3. Improved Driving Safety
  4. Less Vehicle Damage
  5. Healthier Environments
  6. Environmental Preservation
  7. Elevated Quality of Life

1. Enhanced Dirt or Stone Road Quality

In the realm of road expertise, it is a well-established fact that a dusty road equates to a road in decline. Comprised of fine particles, dust ceases to function as a binding agent that holds the road surfaces together. This exposes the load-bearing aggregate, rendering it unstable and susceptible to degradation and loss with each passing vehicle or rainstorm-induced washout. The consequence is the emergence of ruts, potholes, and washboards, escalating the need for frequent spot repairs and intensified blading with grading equipment. Ultimately, the aggregate requires replacement.

Enter calcium chloride—a potent, enduring dust suppressant that not only attracts moisture from the air but also binds fine particles and coarse aggregate. This unique combination creates and sustains a robust, compact, and durable road surface, ensuring safer and more comfortable travel experiences.

2. Reduced Road Maintenance Costs

Constant pressure on road maintenance and improvement budgets necessitates cost-effective solutions, especially as the public demands well-maintained, safe, and comfortable roads. To alleviate the financial strain on road commissions and taxpayers, solutions that diminish labor and material expenses are crucial. An impactful remedy lies in the realm of effective dust suppression products.

Implementing robust dust control measures can lead to a substantial reduction in the overall cost of maintaining unpaved roads, often exceeding 30%. Field trials have yielded compelling results, showcasing a 50% decrease in blading frequency and a doubling of aggregate life when calcium chloride is applied to unpaved road surfaces for dust suppression. In South Africa, these benefits were further emphasized as the interval between graveling extended from 7 to 14 years with the application of calcium chloride. Considering the significant costs associated with paving gravel roads, especially with low traffic volumes, maintaining existing gravel roads emerges as the most practical choice for many counties. Effective dust control proves instrumental in enabling road authorities to uphold roads in a safe and drivable condition, all while significantly reducing costs compared to untreated roads.

3. Improved Driving Safety

Elevating visibility on rural roads is paramount for ensuring greater safety during travel. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety-Highway Loss Data Institute reports that a significant 63% of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities occur in rural areas. While various factors contribute to traffic accidents in rural settings, the presence of road dust on unpaved roads stands out as a potential contributor.

Beyond visibility concerns, a loose and dusty road surface can compromise vehicle traction. The instability of gravel on deteriorating unpaved roads poses a risk, especially during sudden braking. Tires may struggle to grip the loose gravel, leading to extended stopping distances and potential skidding incidents that put drivers and passengers in jeopardy. Additionally, the presence of loose gravel on deteriorating roads poses risks to others, as fine particles transform into dust, causing aggregate to loosen. These coarse solids can transform into projectiles, endangering not only motorists but also pedestrians, neighboring residents, and employees of nearby businesses. Implementing effective dust control measures becomes essential to mitigate these hazards and enhance overall rural driving safety.

4. Less Vehicle Damage

The extent of damage inflicted on vehicles as gravel roads degrade prompts serious consideration. If a fraction of the over $1 billion in annual revenue, generated by the 7,000-plus auto glass repair shops in the U.S., stems from issues caused by loose aggregate on gravel roads, the cumulative cost of vehicle damage due to subpar unpaved road conditions is substantial.

Loose aggregate not only poses a threat to windshields but also exacts a toll on various vehicle components, including paint, chrome, headlights, suspension systems, and more. Dust accumulation can lead to filter clogging, erosion of seals, and the formation of abrasive grit between moving parts. The adverse effects of washboard vibrations and the impact of potholes can result in damage to steering systems, tires, rims, and the loosening of other vital components. These factors contribute to prolonged vehicle wear and tear, potentially leading to safety concerns. Addressing the challenges posed by unpaved roads becomes imperative to minimize vehicle damage and ensure safer, more resilient driving experiences.

5. Healthier Environments

Numerous scientific studies have established a connection between airborne particulate pollution and significant health issues. Individuals exposed to dust may encounter respiratory symptoms, such as irritation, coughing, or difficulty breathing. The inhalation of particulates can lead to decreased lung function, exacerbate conditions like asthma or hay fever, and even convey diseases harbored by soil, such as tetanus. Health experts suggest that exposure to particle pollution can result in chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, and, in individuals with pre-existing lung or heart conditions, even premature death. Children, the elderly, and those susceptible to health issues are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of dust inhalation.

Dust, classified as a coarse particulate measuring 10 microns or smaller, is subject to the 2006 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 24-hour primary and secondary standard, which mandates concentrations not exceeding 150 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Given the health concerns associated with dust pollution, federal and state air-permitting regulations have been implemented to control “fugitive dust” emissions from industrial and transportation facilities, including mines, railroads, agricultural areas, and manufacturing locations. These regulations aim to address the elevated concentrations of airborne dust resulting from unpaved surfaces and increased traffic levels in such settings.

6. Environmental Preservation

Effective dust control plays a crucial role in safeguarding the environment by preventing the dispersion of fine materials into the air or water. Beyond its immediate benefits, dust control also contributes to environmental conservation by preserving vast quantities of roadway gravel, thereby mitigating the environmental impact associated with gravel mining and transportation necessary for replenishing aggregate in unpaved roadways.

While the impact of road dust on the visual appeal and air quality of natural landscapes is evident, its subtle yet harmful consequences should not be overlooked. Dust generated from roadways has the potential to drift or wash into streams and other water bodies, elevating sediment levels and adversely affecting aquatic ecosystems. Deteriorating roads with excessive dust necessitate more frequent blading for maintenance, increasing sediment runoff into streams, as noted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service.

Keeping roads dust-free is crucial to save the environment. It stops tiny particles from spreading in the air and water, reducing the need to dig up more gravel for roads. Dust from roads can harm streams and plants, and it even affects the air we breathe. Rules, like the EPA standard, make sure businesses control dust to keep the air clean. Following these rules is essential in both the U.S. and Canada.

7. Better Quality of Life for People Nearby

Controlling dust not only enhances the well-being of those living and working near unpaved roads but also improves the overall quality of life for road users. The joy of outdoor activities, from gardening to leisurely walks, can be marred by disruptive road dust. Additionally, the dust may increase the time and effort spent on cleaning tasks, such as maintaining windows and outdoor spaces. It can also impact household chores, as the need to close windows and use air conditioning to minimize dust intrusion leads to higher energy expenses. Dust control measures contribute to a more enjoyable and comfortable living environment.


The dust emanating from traffic on unpaved roads not only presents a nuisance but also detrimentally affects the overall quality of life, health, and safety of individuals and the environment. Recognizing dust as both a warning sign for potential road damage and a risk to various aspects of well-being, the adoption of liquid and solid calcium chloride products emerges as a multifaceted solution. These products not only effectively suppress dust in routine road maintenance but also prove instrumental in applications such as road base stabilization and full-depth reclamation during construction or reconstruction projects, offering a comprehensive approach to dust control challenges.

If you are ready to jump into the dust control industry or just need to restock your dust control chemicals – Contact our team at Snow & Ice Salt & Chemicals Unlimited today!