Glowing neon-yellow roads as from Jacksonville to Miami?
Maybe not, but Ron DeSantis has signed a bill allowing roads in his Florida state to be built with “radioactive” mining waste linked to cancer, sparking controversy.
The Florida governor has authorised a law that will allow phosphogypsum – a by-product from the production of fertiliser – to be used in road construction aggregate material.
Phosphogypsum emits radon, a radioactive gas, and also contains the radioactive elements uranium, thorium and radium.
Environmental activists had opposed the bill, calling it “reckless” and “dangerous”.
Radon ranks second only to smoking in causing lung cancer, with the gas responsible for around 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Phosphogypsum is generally stored indefinitely in an effort to prevent it coming into contact with people and the wider environment.
The bill, now signed into law by DeSantis, requires the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct a study into the use of the product.
Ragan Whitlock, a Florida-based attorney with the Centre for Biological Diversity, said of the bill: “This dangerous plan to pave Florida’s roads with toxic phosphate mining waste is an egregious handout to an industry that has a lengthy history of damaging the environment and putting public health at risk.”
The controversial bill signing comes as DeSantis attempts to take his brand of anti-woke, right-wing firebrand politics nationwide in the race to become the Republican presidential nominee.
He is up against a crowded field of Republican hopefuls and is struggling to close the gap with Donald Trump.