As seen in USA Today, MSNBC, Dr. Oz, and the Chicago Tribune.

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Your Driveway vs. Nation's Dirtiest River

One of Nation's Dirtiest Rivers in Brooklyn Hey it's Super Bowl week, so why not some friendly competition?  Your coal tar seale...

One of Nation's Dirtiest Rivers in Brooklyn
Hey it's Super Bowl week, so why not some friendly competition?  Your coal tar sealed driveway vs. the Nation's dirtiest river.  Which one is worse?

Why compare these two?  Because the chemicals with the greatest concentration and concern at the Gowanus River are PAHs, (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) the same major toxic ingredient in coal tar sealants.  There are other chemicals but PAHs dominate.

Listen to these recent statements from the EPA about this river:

"It's not to the point where we're saying no boating, but we're saying if you're going to boat, be very careful, and maybe don't take your little kids with you," said Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck.

"Be very careful not to fall in," said Enck, who also urged people not to eat fish or crabs from the canal. "Do everything possible to avoid contact with the water."

"The Gowanus Canal is one of the most contaminated water bodies in the country," Enck said.
"Contamination...is widespread and may threaten people's health, particularly if they eat fish or crabs from the canal or have repeated contact with the canal water or sediment."

"There is no question that the Gowanus Canal-a major industrial waterway since the 1860s-is in need of a major cleanup," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway...."

“The next step is the review of options for cleaning up the Gowanus, so we can move ahead with a full-scale cleanup of the canal that will result in a revitalized urban waterway.”  

So now that we know how bad it is from the EPA and State of New York, how does it compare to coal tar sealants?
The highest level of PAHs in the Gowanus River: 45,000 mg/kg or parts per million (ppm) or 4.5% with an average of 0.35%. Link to EPA Report

The highest level in coal tar sealant scrapings in Austin, TX: 233,000 ppm (23%) with a mean of 77,000 ppm (7.7%)! 

In other words, the average concentration of the worst chemical family in one of the worst rivers in America, that the EPA wants us to be very careful around is 20 TIMES LESS than the typical value on every coal tar sealed driveway, parking lot, and playground.  So keep your little children away from the river and have them go play on the playground or driveway?

The EPA deems the risks to humans and the environment at the Gowanus River "unacceptable." Link to EPA Report

This comparison has also been made to other hazardous waste sites by the USGS in the following graphic:

I guess it's just as Michael Hawthorne said in the Chicago Tribune a few weeks ago: Too toxic for the dump, but ok on your driveway.  This river will get a Superfund cleanup; you might get an apology....some day.

Guess your driveway wins, but it reality, we all lose on this one.

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Coal Tar Free America: Your Driveway vs. Nation's Dirtiest River
Your Driveway vs. Nation's Dirtiest River
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