Harmless? ("Cinders Everywhere," The Bulletin, Feb. 22) The cover article claimed "experts" say they're harmless; however I strongly disagree. The "experts" cited in the article were a local doctor and police officer. Hardly a deep body of research to conclude that a product distributed ubiquitously across the landscape is harmless.
Cinders may not be harmless to the many who drive around in their enclosed boxes of steel, but they do cause harm. Bicycle commuters must navigate the cinders on the road and breathe in the dust from the parade of autos passing by. Additionally, the pulverized dust from cinders severely damages bicycle parts. Regular commuters find the bearings in their wheels fully disintegrated from the dust, requiring costly replacement. Runners and walkers must take great care with almost every step. A slip on cinders is just as bad as ice.
Our fragile High Desert watersheds are negatively impacted with transport of cinders during melt-offs from roads into riparian habitats. Localized area quality problems are certainly created for people, animals and plants as dust flies around. Even The Bulletin cover photo demonstrated this, showing a worker sans air mask in a cloud of dust being blown around.
More thorough research should have been done before a conclusion of "harmless" was bannered across the paper. "Harmless" is a strong and absolute descriptive word that directly indicates no ill effect. Clearly this is not the situation with cinders.