Image Credit: NASA
Congressman Lloyd Doggett from the 35th District of Texas has re-introduced a bill to phase out the use of coal tar pavement sealants across the US.  Last year Congressman Doggett sponsored similar legislation, but  it never left committee.  For nearly a decade, Doggett has been a ardent supporter of efforts to understand and regulate this problematic pollutant.

Earlier in the day he tweeted,
On #EarthDay let's remember that we have a long way to go to ensure a better world for our kids & grandkids.
Previously Congressman Doggett made the following comments about the need to ban this:
Although other local communities have taken action (visit coaltarfreeamerica.blogspot.com for an excellent summary), we cannot wait for all other communities simply to catch up to Austin. ....This legislation would phase out these coal tar-based sealants nationwide. Alternative products are already on the marketplace.
Coal tar sealants contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs can be problematic for many reasons, such as causing mutations and birth defects in aquatic life. According to the EPA, some PAHs are probable human carcinogens. This raises alarms when we consider that one possible point of exposure to PAHs from coal tar sealants is in the form of dust that is tracked into homes. Children may be particularly vulnerable because of the amount of time they spend on the floor and their tendency to put objects and dirty fingers into their mouths.
Coal tar sealants may not be the only source of human exposure to PAHs in our homes (other potential culprits include tobacco smoking and fireplace use), but that is no excuse for inaction.
The Coal Tar Sealants Reduction Act is commonsense legislation that will benefit our ecosystem and the health of Texans and other Americans. ... I hope that you will continue to join me in protecting our environment and our health by talking about coal tar sealants with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Joining Doggett as a new co-sponsor of the bill, is freshman legislator Jared Huffman of California who had led an unsuccessful attempt to get this product banned in California.  While campaigning for US Congress, Huffman committed to lend his support to a national coal tar sealer ban bill if given the opportunity.

The other co-sponsors all come from areas where some regulatory effort has been made to limit the use of coal tar sealers.  They are:

Congressman Jim McDermott, Washington
Congressman Keith Ellison, Minnesota
Congressman Mike Quigley, Illinois
Congressman Bill Keating, Massachusetts

At the time of this writing, the language of the bill has not yet been made public.

Will another year make the difference in the bill moving forward? Perhaps. We now know more about the human health risks than ever before. Also, there also has been more coverage of this issue in the everyday press. However our citizens and many legislators have been slow to wake up to a new reality. Will this time be different?


Related Articles:

Congressman Doggett Compliments, But Challenges EPA on Sealants
Congressman Doggett: New EPA Coal Tar Study Supports Further Action
Coal Tar Free Nation?  Doggett Introduces Bill for 2.5 Year Phase-Out of Toxic, Coal Tar Sealants
Congressman Doggett Chronicles Concerns That Led to National Coal Tar Ban Legislation

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