A new paper compiles the state of our knowledge about the environmental and human health effects of coal tar sealant as well as the status of legislative action has just been published.  In addition to the USGS, contributors included the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire, Baylor University and the City of Austin.

The intent of the report is to present much of what has already been published in one document with new information on human health effects and the volatilization  of curing sealant.

Here is a summary of the salient points:
  • PAHs are increasing in urban areas around the country
  • PAH concentrations above freshly sealed coal tar sealcoat can be 1000's of times higher than other surfaces
  • even small amounts of sealant can dominate the PAH concentration in a stormwater pond
  • disposal of coal tar sealant contaminated soil can be very expensive
  • coal tar sealants are banned in many jurisdictions around the country 
  • many national retail home improvement chains have stopped selling coal tar sealants
  • the mutagenicity of coal tar is more than 1000 times higher than asphalt products
  • human health concerns are real
  • bans in the US currently cover about 10.4 million people
The abstract and ordering information can be found at this link: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203699x

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