javascript:; Atlanta-Area Neighbors Raise Health Concerns About Parking Lot Sealants | Coal Tar Free America

From WSB Altanta:

By Mike Petchenik

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Plans to patch cracks in one Sandy Springs neighborhood have some homeowners concerned for their health and safety. They plan to bring those concerns to state lawmakers. A few weeks ago, neighbors in the Woodcliff Condo complex off Ison Road told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they received notice from their property management that crews would be sealing cracks in the parking lot with a coal tar-based sealant, which is made from a distillation of crude coal tar.

 Neighbor Tina Campbell told Petchenik she began to research the product to make sure it was safe for her and the other residents and was shocked to find out it was banned in several states and cities nationwide. "I had no idea,” said Campbell. "It's been banned in the State of Washington, Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. It's been banned in 24 cities in Minnesota."

 Campbell showed Petchenik studies that have linked the sealant to cancer. “Even once it's on for three to five years, as it breaks down, it has agents in it known as PAHs, which are known human carcinogens,” said Campbell.

 Campbell has enlisted support from the past president of a nearby neighborhood called Grogan’s Bluff. Gary Alexander told Petchenik he’s contacted an attorney to see about getting a court order to halt the project, which is scheduled to begin June 3. "I'm concerned about it. My residents are concerned about it,” said Alexander. “Everyone on the street is concerned about it." Alexander and Campbell worry that coal–tar particles will seep into a creek bed behind the condos that feeds directly into the Chattahoochee River. The neighborhood also sits across from an elementary school. “It should be investigated,” said Alexander. “It shouldn't be allowed to be put down."

 The engineer overseeing the Woodcliff project spoke to Petchenik by phone and defended use of the product. “I would use it in my own home,” said Ralph Huie. “I would suggest it could be used at a school. I’m absolutely unconcerned.” Huie told Petchenik he’s used the product for 30 years and has had no problems with it. Still, he told Petchenik the condo board would consider an alternative, asphalt-based product based on Campbell’s concerns. “We’re in the helping people business,” he said. “I’m not in the poisoning children and ruining the environment business.”

Campbell forwarded Petchenik an email showing the condo association planned to move forward with the tar-based sealant after “consulting with the authorities,” citing its lower cost and product warranty. Campbell told Petchenik her fight isn’t just to stop the product from being used in her neighborhood. "I want to raise a broader awareness now that I know how toxic it is, to get it banned from our city or banned from our state,” she said. Petchenik reached out to the local distributor of the coal-tar based sealant for comment on Campbell’s concerns, but was told the owner didn’t want to speak to him.

 A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlanta office told Petchenik the agency is currently not regulating the product, but acknowledged that several governments have banned it.

Post a Comment

Anonymous said... June 8, 2013 at 4:20 PM

I'm on your side, but you never post my comments! I do not understand what they are talking about patching cracks with coal tar sealer. This is bad information which gives people the false idea that crack repair uses a coal tar based product. There is no such product I am aware of. I have been an advocate for the disuse of coal tar for 20 years, but I see much information that makes it seem as though any type of asphalt maintenance is bad, sometimes including an assertion that asphalt sealer is for cosmetic purposes only. Not true!

Tina C. said... June 19, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Dear Anonymous: Regarding the above article, I am the person quoted in the article, and the original plans of the engineer/consultant and HOA were to use a coal tar sealant on the entire parking lot, not just to seal the cracks. We presented study after study and concerns were expressed by homeowners, to no avail. It was only after the spot aired on television and in writing by WSB and Coal Tar Free America that the plans were reversed. While they may not all be bad, the coal tar sealant they wanted to use was!

not tar said... July 6, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Tina C,

I applaud your activism. I just have a problem sometimes with misinformation. Coal tar is not used to seal cracks. It is a surface sealant that works by creating a protective barrier over the asphalt. I hope more people take up your level of activism and make sure an alternative to coal tar is used. Unfortunately it seems as though, on a larger scale, legislation is the only way to make people do the right thing.