There are many benefits of living out in rural America. But there are also drawbacks like gravel dust. This can be an acute development during the long dry summer months for the local residents. The amount of rain in a particular region is not the only contributing factor to the amount of dust that is stirred up from a gravel road. Other characteristics include the amount of traffic that uses the road and the type of gravel that is used on the road.
When it comes to gravel dust, limestone gravel roads are at the top of the list in terms of affecting health. This is a very inexpensive gravel to use, but the limestone is a soft rock which is easy to break down each time a truck runs over it. The older the limestone gravel road is, the greater the dust problem is, unless it has been treated. Some roads use a type of glacial deposit gravel particularly up in the northern states. This is made up of harder rocks which still create dust, but is not as severe a problem. An additional benefit for glacial deposit gravel is that clay is contained in the gravel. This captures some of the dust particles that are produced and significantly decreases the amount that is thrown into the air.
The most common treatment to gravel dust is spraying the area with water. This, of course, is a temporary solution as the water does evaporate. Another form of solution that is growing in popularity is the use of tree sap. This is produced as a result of the milling of wood and is frequently called lignin sulfonate. Calcium, sodium and magnesium chlorides have characteristics that boost the decrease in dust when applied properly. The physical property that contributes the most is its ability to absorb moisture.
The only known permanent solution to control gravel dust is to substitute it with asphalt or some other permanent material. In most instances this is not economically feasible.