javascript:; "It is Time..." for Chicago to Ban Coal Tar Sealants! | Coal Tar Free America

Last week Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, one of the most powerful politicians in the City, introduced legislation to ban the use of coal tar sealants.  "Coal tar sealants have been banned in enough jurisdictions across the country that I believe it is time for Chicago to consider similar action," Alderman Burke said in a media release on the Committee on Finance's web page.  Burke has chaired this committee for years.

"It is time to educate the public about the health risks linked to coal tar sealants," Alderman Burns said. "Other alternatives exist that do not carry the same risks to the public health," he added.

This came on the heels of the Chicago Tribune investigative article about the industry fighting against coal tar bans.  Saying this would be a severe blow to the industry, is an understatement.  Not only is Chicago home to nearly 3,000,000 souls, but it also is major user of coal tar sealer for driveways, playgrounds and parking lots.  Chicago is also the location of a plant for the nation's largest coal tar refiner, Koppers, Inc.

If it passes, then the ban would reduce more coal tar volume than any ban to date, local or state.  While the population of the State of Washington, which passed a ban in 2011, is greater, it is a very reasonable conclusion that significantly more coal tar is used per capital and in total in Chicago versus the State of Washington.

Sometimes the more you know, the less certain you are of anything.  There are some powerful forces at work here: a powerful politician, an environmentally aware city, an influential corporate citizen, a growing uproar about the human health effects of coal tar sealcoat and of course a strong union presence. If you could predict the outcome of this, then you could have retired years ago.

The ban itself is well written and thoughtful.  The next step is for it to be heard in the Committee on Finance, which Alderman Burke chairs.  The meeting is likely going to be in the first 10 days of May.

And for the record, in case there is any doubt, we agree with the Alderman that it is time for Chicago to pass a ban of coal tar pavement sealants.

Post a Comment

Anonymous said... April 16, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Here we go...finally America is waking up to this toxic product. Just like when we stopped using asbestos, it is time to stop coal tar use! There is less resistance...for even the larger producers that make millions of dollars off this waste know in there heart it has to stop! Its been said that "applicators unknowingly, have been putting coal tar down not knowing it is harmful to the environment, watersheds and life in general". Loose your pride and just try a better emulsion with good additives and apply it properly. It will actually extend the life of asphalt longer than a product that shrinks and cracks resulting in pavement degradation.

Jamie Brown said... April 18, 2013 at 7:25 AM

Help us in Indiana. For six years I ve been tell any one who will listen. Everyone gets except the one who can change this.

Coal Tar Free America said... April 18, 2013 at 8:05 AM


Thanks for your comment. There is a bill pending in the Indiana House to study the negative effects of coal tar sealers. It isn't a ban, but it is a beginning. Contact the sponsor Representative Niezgodsk and your local representative to show interest and see what can be done. It is HR 34: Coal Tar Sealant Study Bill.

Greg Bourquin said... April 20, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Get involved like I have. the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is leading the way for the Great Lakes coal tar cleanup effort which the Environmental Protection Agency and others are funding. just google Great Lakes coal tar cleanup effort. New York has also spent 3 billion dollars for these so called sponges to help clean them up.

Brad said... April 20, 2013 at 9:21 PM

It's nice to hear more and more people talking about the toxic coal tar sealant issues and moving forward banning the product, We are heading that way in Michigan as well. Support Michigan HB-4074

Anonymous said... June 8, 2013 at 4:31 PM

I agree with anonymous. I have seen coal tar destroy asphalt pavement when it is applied to thick or with subsequent coatings over the years. The very thing which people pay money to save their asphalt is killing it and killing them!