There are numerous materials available to fix icy surfaces instead of using salt, which can be harmful to pets and the environment. Paul McRandle suggests gravel as an inexpensive and non-irritating material to provide traction and notes that sand is also effective but must be cleaned to avoid runoff in waterways and sedimentation. Chemical de-icers are irritants and should be washed off immediately, he writes. McRandle urges readers not to use carbonyl diamide because it releases nitrate when it enters water.
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