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Coal Tar Free Nation? Doggett Introduces Bill for 2.5 Year Phase Out of Coal Tar Sealants

Last week, Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas with the support of legislators from Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, and Massachusetts as w...

Last week, Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas with the support of legislators from Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, and Massachusetts as well as the nation's major environmental advocacy groups,  introduced a bill (H.R. 4166 The Coal Tar Sealant Reduction Act of 2012) to end the use of coal tar sealants in the US in the next few years!  Citing research by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) which gives the following reasons for a nationwide ban:
  • contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) "which are probable human carcinogens, having been identified as such by the Environmental Protection Agency" which are "toxic to aquatic life" and "present in pavement sealants, known as sealcoats, made from coal tar"
  • "coal tar sealants are widely used on parking lot surfaces, airport runways, and driveways;"
  • "research conducted by the United States Geological Survey indicates that elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on parking lots, where the dust may be tracked into homes and increase health risks, are associated with use of these coal tar sealants"
  • "research conducted by the United States Geological Survey indicates that elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in waterways, where they are toxic to aquatic life and enter the food chain, are associated with use of these coal tar sealants;"
  • "alternative, coal tar-free sealants are available in the marketplace, and nationwide retailers Lowe's and Home Depot have voluntarily committed to cease carrying coal tar sealants;"
  • "Austin, TX, was the first municipality to enact a ban on the use of coal tar sealants, which went into effect in 2006, and other local governments have instated similar restrictions; and"
  • "in 2011, Washington State became the first State to enact such a ban."
The proposed legislation goes on to propose:
  1. Phase out of manufacturing in 1 year after enactment
  2. Distribution of coal tar sealant 1.5 years after enactment
  3. Cease all sales within 2.5 years after enactment.
The full text of the legislation is here.

While the introduction of this bill may appear to be the culmination of many years of work in this field, but it is simply the beginning of a legislative effort.  Please let your opinion be known to your friends, family and legislators.  An easy-to-sign online petition has been started here.  The co-sponsors of the legislation are:

  • Congressman Jim McDermott, Washington
  • Congressman Keith Ellison, Minnesota
  • Congressman Mike Quigley, Illinois
  • Congressman Bill Keating, Massachusetts
And by no means should local and statewide legislation cease.  These will only serve to impress upon Congress the need for this legislation.  Only after the signing of this bill into law, can we truly celebrate the end of a chapter in our toxic history.

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Coal Tar Free America: Coal Tar Free Nation? Doggett Introduces Bill for 2.5 Year Phase Out of Coal Tar Sealants
Coal Tar Free Nation? Doggett Introduces Bill for 2.5 Year Phase Out of Coal Tar Sealants
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