Iowans are being reminded about some of the dangers associated with various ice melt products as they work to clear sidewalks and driveways.
Many of the chemicals in ice melt can be harmful to children, pets, and the environment. One product made in Buffalo Center, Iowa, called Safe-Walk, is said to be completely safe – primarily because it’s made with corn.
Company vice-president Lee Kiewiet says Safe-Walk is also unique because of it’s reddish color. "That helps you know how much you are applying so you don’t over apply and waste the product," Kiewiet says, "and also on cold, sunny days, it helps attracts heat from the sun to give it even more melting power." The chemicals in many ice melt products can get stuck in pet’s paws, dry them out, and cause cracking or bleeding.
Safe-Walk doesn’t present that problem. Kiewiet says Safe-Walk, unlike other ice melts, doesn’t cause heat when it’s diluted. Regardless of what type of product you use to clear pavement, it’s important to avoid several freeze and thaw cycles that can buckle or crack the concrete.
"Anytime you use de-icers, you definitely want to put it on, let the de-icer work and then get out there and remove the slush and ice as soon as possible to lessen the impact of freeze-thaw cycles," Kiewiet says. The corn mixture used in Safe-Walk provides another benefit. "(The corn) also makes it so the product is non-hydroscopic," Kiewiet says, "if you use part of a bag this year and it sits in your garage, when you use it next year, it’s going to still be free-flowing and not turn into a hard rock like other products."
Safe-Walk is available at most Hy-Vee and Ace Hardware stores, or you can locate a store that sells the product on the company’s website .