Moscow de-icer burns cat’s paws and poisons people

Moscow de-icing
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Moscow de-icing. Picture royalty free.

It is reported that de-icers and anti-snow chemicals used in Moscow take 1.3 billion years to dissolve! That’s an extraordinary statement and it comes from But that’s not all there is to say about this toxic de-icing process. It creates toxic snow. Radioactive elements have been found in the de-icing chemicals and substances used for clearing the streets of Moscow from ice and snow. The city denies the allegations but the substances are linked to damaged footwear and the burned paws of cats and dogs.

A community group called, “For Safety on Russian Roads” conducted some research and concluded the following:

“I can, of course, emotionally say that yes, we are being poisoned by radiation and scattered with something horrible. But if we put emotions aside, we have now gathered samples of chemicals from sidewalks and found out that substances prohibited years ago are being used once again. These include Radionuclides”- Roman Kornilov.

One de-icing chemical is called ‘yellow halite’. Halite is rock salt and is normally colourless but can be yellow depending upon impurities and additional substances. The authorities also add a substance labelled SBG. Yellow halite is regarded as harmful to people and nature. SBG is an electrolyte slime from a magnesium works. In other words it is industrial waste which contains toxic elements. These include Kalium-40.

Cat in snow Moscow

Cat in snow Moscow. Royalty free image.

There were reports from St Petersburg that the de-icing substances caused an electrical power outage because it damaged utilities. The local power company blamed the chemicals:

“The reason for power grid breakdown was diffusion of chemicals over the city roads”, said the power company’s press release.

It seems that the chemicals are notorious for damaging people’s shoes and burning pets’ paws. Three members of Parliament in the Moscow city Duma have lodged complaints at a district court alleging that the city’s use of these corrosive substances is a breach of the constitution. They argue that:

“[They] have a negative effect on ecological and geological conditions of the city, on the health of people and animals, on the soil and clothes and footwear”.

In 2009, Moscow State University found that anti-ice reagents caused wrinkling of the skin and a burning sensation of touched. The paws of cats and dogs suffered same effects. In addition fumes are given off which exacerbate lung conditions.

The leader of the opposition, Alexei, Navalny tweeted a video commenting:

“They cover the city with tons of poisonous mark in three layers”.

The Moscow authorities say they can’t do without the de-icing chemical agents bearing in mind record-breaking snowfalls, the heaviest in Moscow since the beginning of the century.

Sources: and The Times.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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