javascript:; Austin Schools Advance to Head of the Class with Landmark Sealant Cleanup Announcement | Coal Tar Free America

In a dramatic decision, the Austin Independent School District (AISD) has announced plans to cleanup legacy coal tar sealant pollution from its playgrounds and parking lots.  In all likelihood, this is the first time any district in North America has taken this action.  It has been estimated that nearly 10,000 schools across the US have this same problem.  According to a story  by the Oak Hill Gazette, AISD will begin removing the remnants of sealants during the summer break in classes.  The Gazette  has been the lone media outlet in Austin to follow this story for more than two years.

"Coal tar needs to be banned, and we feel strongly that we need to do our part," said Curt Shaw of AISD.  About half of the district's 130 schools have coal tar on the parking lots or playgrounds.  Cleanup will begin with 6 elementary schools that have coal tar on the playgrounds and move on to parking lots.

The problem of coal tar pollution at schools has been covered on this site previously:

The announcement comes less than a month after the publishing of a toxicologist's research into the cancer risk of children exposed to sealant dust.  Dr. Spencer Williams of Baylor University said the risks exceed 1 in 10,000.  A video of Dr. William's findings can be found here.  One in a million is the standard that the EPA usually strives for.

The exact method of removal was not specified, but the technique of "shotblasting" was first used to remove coal tar sealant in Austin and has subsequently been used in Washington, DC.

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