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Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
Rural and Unpaved Roadsen español

Why are rural and unpaved roads a concern?

Unpaved rural roads are a source of water and air pollution. If rural roads are unpaved, loose soil can be carried away from the roadway by water, wind, traffic, or snowmelt, causing soil erosion. More erosion can occur if there is a large amount of water runoff or if the road soil is poorly compacted. Most of the eroded soil ends up in streams and rivers, where it can collect and cause flooding, destroy aquatic habitat, and harm water quality. Unpaved roads in forests are also a major source of erosion from forested lands.

As traffic travels on unpaved roads, it grinds up the road’s dirt surface and creates coarse particulate matter and dust emissions. In rural agricultural areas, heavy agricultural equipment not only emits particulate matter when it is used on the farm, but also grinds up the soil surface of unpaved roads, causing more particulate matter pollution.

Safety concerns for drivers on rural roads include slippery surfaces, soft shoulders, no center line markings, and narrow road surfaces.

This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.


Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Air Pollution
Motor Vehicle Safety
Water Pollution

More Links
Road Dust (Environmental Protection Agency Region 10) (PDF — 343.00 KB)
Rural Roads (Environmental Protection Agency)
Traffic Accidents and Rural Populations. PubMed/MEDLINE - Journal articles (National Library of Medicine)

Chemicals and Unpaved Roads
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Particulate Matter


Last Updated: June 11, 2014

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